By Sunday Aborisade
Social and economic activities were paralysed for many hours in Okitipupa, a coastal community in Ondo State on Friday following a violent protest that greeted the death of two brothers allegedly shot by the police.
The two brothers, according to an investigation by our correspondent, were commercial motorcyclists popularly known as okada riders.
It was learnt that the first incident occurred on Thursday at about 9.15 pm at Kajola Street junction on Broad Street when a policeman, who was on foot patrol, allegedly demanded a N20 bribe from an okada rider identified simply as Osare.
Osare, according to eyewitnesses, told the policeman that he could not afford to give out the money because he did not work on that day.
The refusal of Osare to oblige, it was gathered, provoked the policeman who was said to have pulled the trigger and shot the rider in the chest.
The policeman, who was believed to be drunk, also shot sporadically and indiscriminately to scare away people while Osare was left in the pool of his blood.
The sound of the gunshots was said to have attracted some youths in the town to the scene but the policeman immediately took to his heels.
The youths were said to have taken Osare to a nearby hospital where he was confirmed dead.
Our correspondent learnt that the deceased’s younger brother, identified as Robinson, rushed to the police station in the early hours of Friday when he heard the news of his elder brother’s death.
The source said that the young man entered the police station in anger and violently demanded to know the cause of his brother’s death.
On his arrival at the station, Robinson was said to have engaged the policemen on duty in a hot argument and threatened to report the matter to his cousin, who is a serving colonel in the Nigerian Army.
The source said at that point, the youths stormed the police station with weapons, demanding for the killer of their friend.
He said, “The situation became so tense and one of the policemen, who was believed to have responded to a directive from a superior officer, shot sporadically to scare away the mob and in the process, Robinson was hit by a stray bullet and he died on the spot.”
Three other youths were said to have sustained varying degrees of injury and are receiving treatment in various hospitals in the town.
The source said that both Osare and Robinson were from Delta State and had been residing in Okitipupa from their childhood until they met their untimely death.
The development led to pandemonium as the youths threatened to burn the police station.
It was learnt that the situation forced other policemen on duty to pull off their uniforms and ran into the bush, while other officers, who reside in the police barracks, relocated their families to neighbouring towns for fear of reprisal.
The mob, it was gathered, made several attempts to set the station ablaze but were prevented by the timely intervention of the Divisional Police Officer in the area and the Jegun of Idepe-Okitipupa, Oba Michael Obatuga, who assured them that justice would be done.
Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr. Aremu Adeniran, said his men were on top of the situation.
He said, “One of the cyclists was sighted in front of a bank at the dead of the night and he could not justify his presence there.
“However, the situation is under control. I will give you details of the incident as soon as my office is properly briefed.”
At the time of filing this report, the atmosphere was still charged just as the police battled to bring the situation under control.