One of the victims of the Sunday robberies in Lagos, Sikiru Abiodun, has died. PUNCH Metro learnt that the 26-year-old died on Monday night during a surgery to remove some of the bullets lodged in his legs and thighs.
Our correspondent, who visited the Gbagada General Hospital on Tuesday, observed as sympathisers, family members and friends cried profusely over his death.
A friend of the deceased, who was present when he was shot, blamed the police for Abiodun’s death.
The friend said he and Abiodun were accosted by policemen when they were driving but the policemen fled when the armed robbers started shooting.
He said, “Abiodun and I were inside the car at Roundabout Bus Stop to buy chicken when we were accosted by policemen in a white Golf Volkswagen (with registration number Osun AE 581 GBN).
“The policemen parked in front of us and ordered us to alight from the car. I asked them why they stopped us but they immediately ordered us out of the car. I attempted to make a phone call but one of the policemen snatched my phone.
“Abiodun and I then came out and started discussing when the robbers came out from nowhere and started shooting at us. One of the policemen shot back and this infuriated the robbers, making them to shoot at us indiscriminately.”
Abiodun’s friend, who declined to give his name, said when the other policemen saw that their colleague had been hit by the robbers’ bullets, they fled into a nearby bureau de change office.
He added that he, Abiodun and the policeman, later identified as Emmanuel, remained on the floor as the robbers riddled their car with bullets, adding that the robbers later took away the policeman’s gun.
It was learnt that the armed robbers also attacked Tantilizers, an eatery, and stole money from the cashier and also attempted to rob Sweet Sensation but turned back when they noticed the doors were locked.
PUNCH Metro learnt that after the robbers had left, some residents broke the windscreen of the police vehicle in anger.
One of the witnesses, who craved anonymity, said the policemen always loitered in the area waiting for customers of bureau de change operators.
He said, “I know Emmanuel very well. He’s a corporal attached to Area H. What he and his colleagues usually do is that they wait around, accost and extort young men who come to change foreign currency.”
Abiodun’s friend said after the robbers had left, the policemen came out of hiding, put their colleague in their vehicle and sped off.
He said, “After the robbers had left, the policemen took their injured colleague (Emmanuel) and drove off while Abiodun, who sustained series of gunshot wounds, was abandoned.
“I could not make any call because my phone was with the policemen and my car was riddled with bullets. Luckily for us, some sympathisers helped us to get to the hospital.”
It was learnt that immediately Abiodun was pronounced dead, friends and family attempted to beat up Emmanuel who was also admitted to the same hospital.
This prompted the hospital staff to transfer the policeman to another ward.
A nurse who craved anonymity said Emmanuel might lose one of his legs.
“Emmanuel too is also in critical condition. Due to the severity of the gun wounds he sustained, we might need to amputate one of his legs,” she said
How I was shot – LASTMA official
Meanwhile, Moruf Sosan, the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority official who was shot by the robbers, is set to be discharged.
Narrating what happened on the fateful day, the 32-year-old LASTMA official said, “I was controlling traffic at Anthony when two guys on a motorcycle, wearing face caps drove near me.
“One of them was holding a pistol and I thought the guys were policemen because that’s how Special Anti-Robbery Squad operatives usually dress. All of a sudden, they shot me in the leg and sped off.
“I immediately fell to the ground. I tried to stand up but I couldn’t. I rolled off the road and some commercial motorcycle riders rescued me and rushed me to a nearby hospital form where I was transferred to Gbagada General Hospital.”
A nurse who spoke on Sosan’s condition said, “The bullet penetrated his feet and cracked his bone. So, what we did was to dress the wound and cast the leg with Plaster of Paris. He should be discharged latest by Wednesday (today).”
The simultaneous robberies on Sunday in various parts of Lagos left at least five people dead while many others sustained varying degrees of injuries.