News sources has recently revealed the story of a Nigerian man who became victim of police brutality. The man’s name which was given by news reports as Sulaimon Raheem, narrated how a police corporal’s injustice to him, cost him his ability to walk in the last five years.
The victim, Mr Raheem who was 33 years of age as at the time of the Incidence, came to the panel with the support of a walking frame, and disclosed how he had suffered excruciating pains all these while. He also narrated to the Lagos judicial panel on Wednesday about the incident that happened to him on January 10, 2016, in his neighbourhood. In his words;
“That very day, there was a football match going on in my area at Amoo Agege on 10th of January. It is still fresh in my memory
“I went to watch the match. Immediately after the match finished, I called a bike man to take me home. On my way home, this particular man (was in a) Toyota Camry. He now hit me and the bike man, we tumbled. After we tumbled, I stood up and wanted to meet him, that – what happened? Why did you hit us?
“Before I got to this man, what I noticed was that he (wound) down his glass. I thought he wanted to say I’m sorry for hitting you. He (wound) down (his) glass, brought out his gun and shot me on my neck, and it came out from my back,” the victim narrated soberly.
The victim went further to demonstrate the extent of the injury, by removing his shirt and showed the panel where the bullet entered through his neck and came out from his back, to the shock of all present in the room.
Mr Raheem continued his narrative stating that after the officer shot him, he lost consciousness and was immediately rushed to the hospital for medical treatment.
He however identified the officer who shot him as Sunday David, a police corporal, who was attached to Elere police station, Agege, at the time of the incident.
“After he shot me, I didn’t know anything. Immediately he shot me, they took me to one hospital at Ilepo-oja and they said there was no space, that we should go to a hospital in Ikeja. At that hospital, they also told us there is no bed that we should go to LUTH,” he said.
Mr Raheem also disclosed to the panel that he was a craftsman involved in making roofs, doors, windows and other house items using aluminium, before the incident. He told the panel the severity of damage and setbacks the injury had brought upon him and his source of livelihood. In fact, according to him, the injury suffered cost him his spinal cord as he was on a wheelchair for three years, unable to walk, urinate and do other things without aid.
Further narrating his ordeal, Mr Raheem told the panel that he was attended to at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, after being referred from one hospital to another on the day of the incident.
“When they did different tests and X-rays, the doctor said I have a spinal cord injury and referred me to a physiotherapist.
“We did that for three years, no changes. I am not able to walk, to piss or do anything, I’m on wheel chair for three years,” he told the panel.
Mr Raheem further narrated that after three years of patronising the physiotherapist and there were no changes, he met with another specialist, who carried out another surgery on him, which cost him N1.8 million.
He told the panel that he was admitted for six months while undergoing the surgery, excluding the months he spent at the hospital prior to the surgery.
Meanwhile the victim, through his legal counsel, Sylvester Agih, tendered a photograph of the police corporal, Sunday David to the panel. The same was admitted as an exhibit. Also tendered by Mr Raheem, was 11 medical receipts to the panel.
Meanwhile Judge Dorris Okuwobi, a retired Judge heading the panel, adjourned the matter till January 27, for further hearing.
Many, concerned citizens, especially Human rights activists and immediate families of victims of police brutality are always keen on the outcome of cases like these and to ensure that a genuine voice in the fight against police brutality is heard all over in other to see a reasonable end to officers who abuse power and take advantages of citizens who they are called to protect in the first place.
Gift Joseph Okpakorese