Residents in the Jogor Centre area of Ibadan, Oyo State, have kicked against the alleged assault of a 17-year-old boy who was hospitalised after he was reportedly slapped by a policeman.
Naijaone gathered that the boy, whose name was not disclosed by the residents who witnessed the scene because he was a minor, had recently returned from the United States to see his aged grandmother but fell victim to police brutality.
The incident, Naijaone gathered, happened on December 27, 2023, during the festive period, but eyewitnesses said they could no longer keep mum over the incident, especially having just recovered some of the videos and pictures they managed to take during the incident.
A resident, Sola Ajayi, said the officers were still in the area and wondered if looking good was a crime that warranted the alleged assault on the boy.
Speaking in a telephone interview on Saturday, Ajayi narrated that around 7 pm on December 27, the boy alongside another person was going on a bike around the Jogor Centre when they were stopped by some policemen numbering up to five.
He said upon interrogation, “One of the policemen was doing a video recording when the boy’s partner also began to do a video recording in case anything happened. So, before we knew it, the officers had called the Divisional Police Officer at Iyaganku Police Station. They brought more policemen. The DPO came in a Lexus 470 jeep. There were many with rifles. One of them tried to cock his gun and his magazine even fell off. They took them to the station in their vehicle where they were beaten.”
A source who knew the family of the victim told Press on Saturday that the boy and his brother who were slapped by the policemen were hospitalised and had been receiving treatment.
“They called him a fraudster because his look was different from ours,” the source said.
“They were going to ShopRite that day. It happened on our street. It was at the back of the Jogor Centre. The route they followed was a shortcut. Please, help us in this area. Is it an offence for a grandson to come from the US to greet his grandmother?
“They punched the other brother. The boy had never been beaten before. Policemen never beat them where they came from.”
In a voice note obtained by our correspondent, said to be of the 17-year-old, he was heard saying, “It was bad! They tried to say I was a scam.”
A 27-second video shared with our correspondent by one of the eyewitnesses shows a police officer holding a phone suspected to be doing a video recording while some people were also seen charging at the policemen. One of the officers had Olanrewaju inscribed on his uniform.
“You don’t know what you’re doing? You don’t need to stop him like that…for what?,” a voice was heard telling the police officers in the video while another one said, “What happened?” in a raging tone.
Another video sent to Press by an eyewitness who feared being named, as she said she was aware the officers were usually stationed in the area, showed fluid coming out from the ear of one of the victims.
Oyo State Police Public Relations Officer, Adewale Osifeso, and shared the videos and pictures with him.
He simply urged the victims to immediately petition the state Commissioner of Police promising that investigation would be swift.
“Advise them to immediately put a petition to the CP. The investigation must be escalated quickly,” Osifeso told our correspondent in a chat.
An official in the state police command who is not authorised to speak said he wondered why the issue would degenerate to the point of slapping the victims.
“For blood to come out from someone’s ear, it’s very serious. It’s important to know why they slapped the boy irrespective of what transpired. Even if you’re profiling the person, there are many ways you can do your job as a policeman without causing problems. It’s important to know what the DPO also did upon hearing the matter,” the police officer said.