A Nigerian, identified as Kolade Johnson, was allegedly shot and killed by operatives of the Gbagada division of the Special Anti Cultism Squad (SACS) of the Lagos State Police Command while watching a football match on Sunday, March 31, 2019.
Johnson who was 36 years old was reportedly accidentally shot by the police operatives while they were trying to arrest another man because of his dreadlocks in the Mangoro area of Lagos State.
Johnson’s friend, Dennis Ikpoba, told Premium Times that people had gathered around the officers while they attempted to arrest one Ismail Folorunsho who appeared to have been unfairly targeted by the law enforcement officers who arrived the scene in an unpainted Danfo bus.
Johnson was around the scene of the rowdiness watching the English Premier League game between Liverpool and Tottenham, which started around 4:30pm, when he was hit by what is believed to be a stray bullet.
He was later pronounced dead at the hospital shortly afterwards as the officers fled the scene for fear of being lynched by a mob which soon gathered and blocked the roads around the area.
SACS has grown notorious for indiscriminate raids and arrests in Nigeria’s economic capital as officers target mostly young people they suspect of wrongdoing without any concrete evidence, including their manner of dressing and hairstyle.
These arrests grew more prominent when the state’s former Police Commissioner, Edgal Imohimi, upped the ante on the fight against cultism in the state.
Johnson’s unfortunate killing on Sunday has led to a resurgence of the outrage against the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) who, although not responsible for the recent killing, have become the face of police brutality and impunity in the country due to past conducts.
Many Nigerians have taken to social media to air their displeasure with Johnson’s killing and called for the scrapping of FSARS, as well as the implementation of meaningful police reform to curb brutality unleashed on helpless citizens.
One of the biggest campaigners for police reform in the country, Segun Awosanya, took to his Twitter account (segalink) on Sunday to call on legislators to urgently pass a police reform bill for assent to prevent the death of more Nigerians.
“We will implore the @SPNigeria @NGRSenate to prioritize the passing of the #NewPoliceActBill for the assent of the President. We can’t continue to watch our young die while we pursue the cure to symptoms. We need this urgently. #ReformPoliceNG,” he posted.
He also revealed that the Force Headquarters in Abuja has already expressed willingness to look into Johnson’s killing.