Lagos Police vows to investigate death of Kolade Johnson who was killed by SACS

Lagos Police vows to investigate death of Kolade Johnson

The Lagos State Police Command has revealed that it will investigate the events that led to the death of one Kolade Johnson who was allegedly killed by an operative of the Gbagada division of its Special Anti Cultism Squad (SACS).

Johnson, 36, was reportedly accidentally shot when police officers were trying to arrest another man because of his dreadlocks in the Mangoro area of Lagos State on Sunday, March 31, 2019.

The spokesperson of the Lagos command, Bala Elkana, told Premium Times on Monday, April 1, that the incident will be "thoroughly investigated" and the findings made public.

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.
Kolade Johnson was allegedly killed by men of the Special Anti Cultism Squad (SACS) of the Lagos State Police Command [Facebook/Styles Kolade Johnson]

According to a witness who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Johnson was one of the people who gathered to assure the officers of Folorunsho's innocence when they shot to disperse the crowd.

"In an attempt to disperse the crowd, a first shot was fired to the ground. Seeing this, I and the others quickly turned back to avoid trouble, but because Kunle was probably the last person in the crowd, he was shot point blank from behind.

"He didn't even know he was shot till we had trekked some few metres before we all saw he was bleeding, he died on his way to the hospital at Ikeja," the witness said.

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 killing fuels outcry for Police reform

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.