When the news of the killing of Babatunde Nafiu, a young applicant filtered in, it was received with some level of disbelief. Joshua Dada in Osogbo reports on the reaction that followed the killing
Babatunde by Yoruba interpretation means father has reincarnated. It is a name given to a newly born male child to signify the arrival again of their deceased father or grandfather as the case may be.
While Babatunde Nafiu succeeded his grandfather, a trigger-happy operative of Special Anti-Robery Squad callously prevented him from being survived by a child.
If anybody had told Babatunde on Eid El Karbir celebration day that he will not witness 2019, edition, he would have either fought the person to a standstill or decided to sell his property and distribute the proceed to the less privileged for succor at Aljanah.
Or rather, if while going out on that fateful morning of Thursday 23rd, August, 2018, a little kid had crossed his way to prevent him from going out, he would have probably beaten hell out of the little lad.
But eventually, as fate will have it, he was not able to return home to his parents that day courtesy of a stray bullet fired by a police officer.
Recall that the general public have been clamouring for the scrapping of the department of Special Anti-Robbery Squared (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force following alleged over zealousness or professional misconducts by some of the operatives.
It was in the light of this that Prof. Yemi Osinbajo in Acting capacity as the President of Nigeria ordered the Inspector General of Police to restructure the department in line with global best practice.
It was gathered that Babatunde, a graduate of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree in Boripe local government area of Osun state who was at the point of his death, hustling for job, left home that fateful morning to pay his bosom friend who lives at Kuti area Iwo Sallah visit.
After merry making, Babatunde decided to return home to meet his parents, Pa and Mrs Dele Nafiu, but alas, while man proposes, he should pray that God should take absolute control of the proposal so the evil one might not dispose otherwise.
It was gathered that while awaiting a bike that would convey him to Ile-Ogbo at Odoori in Iwo, a team of operatives of Special Anti-robbery Squad who were on duty met a road blocked by youths who were celebrating sallah.
The operatives fired bullets into the air to scare away the residents so that they could have their way, but one of the stray bullets hit the diseased and was left in the pool of his blood.
Another version of the story said that Tunde received bullet wounds while trying to escape arrest for disrespecting constituted authority.
However, immediately the incident happened, the police officers sensing trouble fled the scene to avoid further calamities.
Tuna Boy as he was popularly called by his admirers who celebrated his birthday on August 3rd, was rushed to the hospital but alas, he gave up the ghost before he got there. A case of dead on arrival.
Hell was then let loose the following morning as at about 7:00 am irate youths from Iwo and Ile-Ogbo mobilized to the office of the Area Commander located near, Iwo General Hospital, along Ile-Ogbo road Iwo, to demand release of all SARS operatives in the command to them to deal with.
Initially, the police on duty put up resistance as they fired tear gas to dislodge the angry youths, but when it became obvious that the youths meant business, the officers took to their heels and abandoned the post.
The Oluwo of Iwoland Oba AbduRasheed Akanbi, and the Olu of Ile-Ogbo came to the scene to appeal to the irate youths but all pleas met deaf ears as the agitated youths brought down the Area Commander’s office fence.
They entered the offices, brought out valuables including power generating machines and other office equipment and set them ablaze before razing down the entire structures.
It was gathered that the exercise lasted about one hour but was put under control when officers with armoured personnel carrier (APC) came to the scene and dislodged the mob.
The Ile-Ogbo Development Forum in a prompt statement condemned the action of the police and described the loss of Babatunde as a monumental one to their community.
While appealing to the youths not to take laws into their hands, they demanded that justice must be done and the perpetrator brought to book.
They named one Lukman Gbadamosi as the operative that did the dastardly act and urged police authorities to ensure that he faced the music of his callous act.
Also, the Iwo Development Coalition through its chairman, Kabir Adeniyi in a statement commiserated with their Ile-Ogbo kinsmen and urged the police to do the needful.
Subsequently, the Osun state police command announced the arrest of the operative of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad attached to the Area Command Headquarters, Iwo who allegedly fired the shot that killed Tunde Nafiu in Iwo.
A statement made available to newsmen in Osogbo by the Command Public Relations Officer, Folashade Odoro stated that the officer involved in the killing was promptly arrested and transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCIID), in Osogbo for interrogation.
Odoro disclosed that the state Commissioner of Police, Olafimihan Adeoye visited the scene for on the spot assessment and reassured members of the public that the erring officer will be made to face the full wrath of the law.
She noted that the quick intervention of the Area Command doused the tension that greeted the killing but regretted that during the protest the angry youths torched the buildings housing the offices and residence of the Area Commander as well as three patrol vans and two other vehicles belonging to the officers of the Area Command.
During his visit to the traditional ruler of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi in his palace and the family of the deceased in Ile-Ogbo, the Commissioner of police regretted the action of the police officer.
Adeoye however stated that the deployment of a team of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad to Iwo was to reinforce the Command’s fight against the incessant cases of robbery in Iwo and environs.
He said he was pleased that the efforts of the Police had yielded positive results as the rate of robbery and other allied offences had greatly reduced.
Responding, Oba Akanbi thanked the Police for all efforts aimed at stemming the rate of crime in Iwo adding that an alternative accommodation has been provided to house the Area Command Headquarters while immediate steps will be taken by the community to renovate the torched facilities.
The action of the trigger-happy SARS operative though avoidable has brought unprecedented sorrow to the household of Pa Dele Nafiu, the Iwo and Ile-Ogbo communities.