*CSP Kasumu Speaks: I Was forced to Use Moderate force to Repel Angry Protesters…
By Shakirudeen Bankole
An 11-month-old girl is allegedly among innocent civilians gunned down, Wednesday, by persons suspected to be men and officers of the Igando Police Divisional Command in Lagos.
The child was reportedly strapped to the back of her mother, who was trying to escape the pandemonium, caused by the “shoot-at-sight” exercise by the officers.
She was reportedly hit by live ammunition on her back. According to one account, she died immediately.
Her mother, whose name couldn’t be identified as at the time of filing this report, was also said to have sustained injuries, as she fell really had on her face, while trying to escape.
Her face was ridden with horror, as she cried for help to rescue her dead child, an eye-witness recounted.
“Help me, Nigerians, help me. My daughter has been killed,” she reportedly cried for help.
The shooting order against the peaceful protesters, was allegedly authorized by the Divisional Police Officer, CSP Taiwo Kasumu, who has also been whisked away from the scene.
According to one of the eyewitnesses, Babs Olumide, three adult males, and one adult female were also believed to have lost their lives in the rampage by the designated men and officers of the NPF.
Olumide told The New Diplomat correspondent on ground that, “Igando is burning, as you can see, and innocent lives have been lost.
“And surprisingly, the killers are the same policemen we are partly protesting in favour! The men and officials of the Igando Police Command were the once killing us here,” he alleged.
There were also unconfirmed numbers of people injured by stray bullet and are currently hospitalizd at the Alimosho General Hospital in Igando.
Olumide, who said he was on ground during the entire episode, gave a vivid description of the horror visited on the residents, who were protesting against the now disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad and Police Brutality in the country.
According to him, “surprisingly, the soldiers met us here and instead of opening fire on us, engaged us, and pleaded with us to calm down. I spoke directly to one of them and I will send the audio of the conversation to you.
“The soldiers simply acted civil and considerate. They addressed us and pleaded with us. But it was the Police that championed the shooting and killing of innocent people.
“They were ordered to kill us at sight by the DPO, Taiwo Kasumu, who has been whisked away from the station just now,” he narrated.
Another protester spoken to, Mr. Abdulazeez Adediran, a tailor in Egan, a suburb of Lagos said the adults killed peaceful protesters who pose no harm to the constituted authority whatsoever.
“But the police choose to open fire on all of us. I narrowly escaped by crawling out of the danger on my belly. One of the guys shot and killed was running right behind me,” he said.
When contacted on the phone to confirm or deny the allegation against him, Kasumu, also a lawyer, said he was “forced to use some moderate force against the angry protesters, when they were about to attack my men and roasted us alive, as it has happened in some places already”
He further maintained that, as a learned person, who is versed in international law protocols and convention on managing crisis such as the protest, he would only say that “there was collateral damages on both sides.”
It wasn’t clear if he meant that some police officers were also killed.
When asked to explain himself on this ambiguity, Kasumu said “you know I have just escaped a serious attack. I am still tense as I speak. And there is little I can give you in terms of explanation to whatever has happened. If you need further details,” kindly relate with the Police State Command, through the PPRO.
A visit to the scene by this reporter, revealed how much chaos have been visited on residents, as debris of personal belongings, left behind by protesters, scampering for safety, littered the road.
A market that is directly located opposite the Police Station has also been deserted.
The police station was subsequently attacked by angry mob who carted away its Generating Sets, some impounded motorcycles and other valuables.