The media is currently saturated with the news of the killing of a Muslim cleric on the 20th of May, at about 2200hours, around the Obabiyi axis of the popular Igando road, Ikotun, Alimosho LGA, Lagos State.
On this dark day, a police officer, Inspector Charles Okoro of the Ikotun Division was on duty enforcing the covid-19 curfew orders of the federal government when the unfortunate happened. In an attempt to apprehend an erring commercial tricycle operator who was operating two hours (2) hours beyond the allowed time of 8pm, what could best be described as an ‘accidental discharge’ from the firearm of the officer resulted to the death of one Nigerian, Fatai Oladipupo, who was said to have gone to buy bread to break that day’s Ramadan fast. What happened next is what all of us already know, and people are only awaiting the next line of action.
The families, friends and colleagues of the deceased who died immediately he was hit by the bullet that strayed as a death emissary, screamed foul until the media took it upon itself to make the incident airborne.
Sequel, the police authorities have began appropriate actions to ensure justice and arrest of the policemen on the order of the Commissioner of Police. Fatai Oladipupo is dead and his family has been thrown into mourning, the unlucky inspector is facing trials within the police and may soon be handed to the conventional court.
Regardles, something must be noted, and this is the fact that inspector Okoro Charles never planned to hack down Fatai Oladipupo or anyone else for that matter that night; he only frantically move to enforce the law, and in the process, an innocent citizen fell, a situation that has created gloom, not just in the deceased family, but in the society and in the Nigeria Police Force, which has so much concern about its image in an evolving society that Nigeria is. The ultimate burden is that since the law is a respecter of nobody, irrespective of class, creed or societal position, there is need to look at the pros and cons of this unfortunate ensuring and unfolding scenario, vis-a-vis the action idiosyncracy of the man- Inspector Okoro Charles.
While many call for his head, it must be considered that he has been a very gallant, dutiful, patriotic, humble, obedient, respectful and listening police officer who will never tolerate injustice, oppression, intimidation or victimisation in the course of his duties, a clear indication that he still is a brilliant, respectful and respectable policeman in Nigeria (albeit for this sad saga).
This is traceable to the regime of the last Divisional Police Officer of Ikotun Division, who rated him so high in terms of diligence, proactiveness and productivity, in crime fighting. As the kleighlight of the media is beaming on this police officer for a negative reason, and the force’s orbit revolves around him for discipline, correction and punishment, it is pertinent to establish that this officer is a victim of poor supervision/monitoring and a careless management.
If there are proper supervision by his immediate bosses, the shop from which the deceased moslem cleric went to purchase bread (food) should have been under lock and key at 800hours and the straying bullet would not have hit him or anyone else, and if there were effective monitoring, a serious code of conduct would have ruled police activities in that jurisdiction, and if the management were superb, what was a live amunition doing inside the magazine of an AK47 rifle used to ensure that citizens stay alive in the face of an annililative Corona virus?
In the light of these, it is therefore imperative that while the police authorities take action against this mishap to stop its re-occurrence, there is need for consideration that the ‘baby (who is Inspector Okoro), should not be poured away with the dirty bath water’. This is because it is human to err but divine to forgive.
This consideration should happen amid a serious arrangement by the authorities for adequate compensation and pacification of the immediate families of the late Fatai Oladipupo, whose life was cut short by this mishap, especially as his wife is yet young and tender, tending children who are under (3) three years. While the authorities are doing all things possible to lift the family of the deceased from their deep dejection, the matter of Inspector Charles Okoro should be looked at as a situation where a man killed, who never planned or intended to kill; where a policeman committed a misnoma he never, ever thought of committing. It must hitherto be stated that while the lockdown and curfew regime subsists, Area Commanders, DPOs and all officers should learn to discharge duties humanly and humanely, following the precepts of CP ODUMOSU HAKEEM, who teaches, corrects and sets free most of the time, to ensure compliance, realising that the whole essence of the laws and their enforcement is to save lives and not terminate them. It must also be re-emphasised that the death of Fatai (Ayanfe) Oladipupo from the brutish ways of the Police is so regrettable.
*Could it also be that Inspector Okoro Charles was fighting to escape death from the hands of some marauders or nocturnal criminals when the sad incident happened, as some reports had it?
Sergeant Abuh Ogbaje was arrested with Inspector Okoro Charles that night. *Why was he arrested?
*Was he an acupuncturist or was he part of the incident that night, that the alfa died? This questions becomes pertinent since his name was not and has not been mentioned in all the social and media publications.
By: Prince Samuel Chukwudi Timothy