About three months after the #EndSARS protest which rocked several cities in the country, and which eventually led to the loss of several lives, the family of a police officer who lost his life during the protest have recounted how the government has neglected them since after the death of their father and brother.
Photos of the late officer, DSP Augustine Ogbeche:
She said on that fateful day, her younger called had called her to ask if she had heard the news of his uncle's death, but she dismissed it as mere rumour and ended the call, because that morning they had called her brother to inform him that there was violence in Lagos, but he told them there was no violence in Otta where he was.
But after ending the call with her brother, she went on social media, and was shocked to see the news that a DSP in Otta named Augustine Ogbeche had been murdered. According to her, she was shocked to her marrow, and began asking how it happened. She was lost in thoughts, and couldn't figure out how such a thing happened.
The sister, Stella Sunny, while speaking further, said the late senior police officer was her elder brother, and was murdered in Otta, Ogun State, on October 21st, 2020.
Photo of Stella Sunny:
She said she was desperate to see her brother, so she decided to disguise herself and go to the scene of the attack. She then put on trousers and face cap so that people would not recognize her, and on getting to the police station at Otta, she saw her brother from afar lying dead on the ground. She said that the hoodlums had macheted her brother to death as if he was a common criminal, and the police station was burnt down to ashes.
She said when she saw her brother in that state, her heart broke in pieces, because her brother did not deserve to die in such a dishonourable way.
The son of the late DSP Augustine Ogbeche who also spoke to the journalists said that it was in the evening of that day that they broke the news to them that his father had been killed during the #EndSARS protest.
Photo of the late officer's son:
Stella Sunny lamented that ever since her brother died, the family have not heard anything from the government, not even a condolence letter from Ogun State Government.
Below is the video of the interview:
The #EndSARS still remains very fresh in our memories, because it was a time when the Nigerian youths were fed up with the wanton killings and brutality from the police, and were ready to take a stand against it. Amnesty International reported that between January 2017 and May 2020, there were at least 82 cases of torture and extra-judicial killings in the Nigeria. So you could imagine why Nigerians were angry and were determined to put a stop to it. The protest which had drawn the attention of the world to the plight of the Nigerian youths was going on smoothly until it ended up being hijacked by hoodlums.
Following the hijack, there were series of clashes and deaths in several parts of the country, but the height of it all was the alleged massacre that took place at Lekki Tollgate on the night of October 20th, 2020.
The killing of the peaceful protest at Lekki Tollgate that night by the Nigerian military had sparked outrage that soon plunged some parts of the country into carnage. The following day, wanton killings of police officers and hoodlums were recorded in several parts of the country, not to talk about the looting of public and private business places. Banks were burnt down, public transport systems set on fire, police stations vandalized and burnt down, several people killed.
According to a report which was made by ThisDayLive on October 31st, 2020, several days after the protest, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had given a statistic of fatalities that were suffered during the #EndSARS protest.
In the report, it was said that 205 police stations were burnt and vandalized during the crisis, and ammunition stolen by the hoodlums. 73 people were killed, 22 of whom were police officers. 71 public warehouses were looted.
In a report which was made by The Guardian on December 4th, 2020, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had given N10 naira each to families of police officers in the state killed during the #EndSARS protest.
In a report which was made by Vanguard on November 19th, 2020, Abia State Commissioner of Police, Mrs Janet Agbede, had said that families of officers in the state who lost their lives during the #EndSARS crisis would be compensated.
As other state governments did their best to compensate the families of slain cops, I think the family of the late Augustine Ogbeche is pained that Ogun State Government has not done anything to compensate the family of the man who gave his life while working for the stability of the country.
It is the gory stories of the people that died during the #EndSARS protest that make the memories of that protest very painful. Because it had begun as a peaceful protest, a protest to end police brutality and bad governance in the country, but it had ended up with casualties that we never planned for.
But we pray that may the souls of those who lost their lives during that crisis continue to rest in perfect peace, and may their deaths never be in vain. May Nigeria someday be a better and greater country just as they had hoped it would be, because they did while believing in a better Nigeria.
Please drop some condolence messages for all those who lost their lives during the protest.
Credit: Punch, ThisDayLive, The Guardian, Vanguard, AllAfrica.
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