The people of Fugar in Etsako Central Local Government Area
of Edo State were thrown into turmoil on Saturday, June 27, 2015, when a
trigger happy police officer, attached to a traditional ruler, shot dead two
women during the burial of a former headmaster, Hon. James Oshioriamhe Etu.
Other mourners at the occasion took to
their heels following the gunshots which
hit Sandra Emaku and Aishitu Aliyu, both of them nursing mothers.
children of the deceased were dancing as part of the funeral. One of the
traditional rulers (names withheld) who graced the occasion stood up to leave.
As if drunk, one of the police officers
attached to the monarch started shooting sporadically with one hand. The two
women fell to the bullets of the officer.
Aishatu, who is not from that community, came to mourn with her friend, Christiana Adams, a daughter of the deceased. The burial
ceremony ended abruptly.
intervention of the Chairman of the LGA, Mr Emmanuel Momoh; John Akigbe; and
other leaders in the area saved him,
even as he was disarmed immediately by
the members of a vigilante group at the
burial. Edo State Police Commissioner
described the incident as accidental discharge, saying however that the suspect
had been arrested and will face the law accordingly.
Samson Oseghemwen, who witnessed the incident, narrated how it happened to Sunday Vanguard. His words: “That day, I went there as a member of the age
group of one of the sons of the father that died. While we were there, a traditional ruler came with so many people and there were some
mobile policemen who escorted them to the place.
was about leaving, one of the policemen was
holding the gun with one hand and the thing slipped off his shoulder.
Before he could control the gun, two
people had been shot dead. There was pandemonium and people started running in
all directions. My men and I tried to protect the police man
from mob attack otherwise they would have killed him. His gun, magazines
were taken away from him and his identity card torn from his uniform, it was me
who found them and returned them to the Divisional Police Officer in Fugar”.
officer, he said, “I don’t think it was intentional but it was a kind of
overzealous police man who wanted to please his master by shooting
indiscriminately in a crowded place and holding the gun with only one hand and
he was not strong enough to do so.
for the corpse to be released for burial. The police said the case has been
handed over to the state CID and that they need permission from Benin before
burial can take place, but the one that died almost instantly was taken to
Ogbona UBTH, she died there. I was the one that said they should remove the
corpse because the UBTH in our area here refused to put the diseased in the
mortuary. We conveyed the corpse back to Fugar General Hospital mortuary and,
about two or three days later, her family came to remove it for burial because
they are Muslims, but this one is still there for almost three weeks and
nothing is happening.
all the family needs do is to get a
burial certificate in Benin so that they can remove the corpse for
burial from the specialist hospital in Irrua.
With the corpse in the mortuary,
tension is building up; the earlier the corpse is buried the better for us and
we want a cordial relationship with security agents.
The sad thing is that this young lady from Fugar just delivered a baby barely
two months ago and she has four
other children. So it is sad, very sad”.
that the incident took the life of her
friend, Aisatu. “When we were dancing, the monarch, escorted by some mobile police men, was even
dancing with us, when we heard people shouting, ‘he has killed her! he has
killed her’!. When I ran to the scene, people were running. Some persons were
protecting the police man so that he will not be beaten, that is all I could
remember before I fainted”. Asked how she felt when she woke up to find out
that her friend was one of the victims, she wept profusely. She stated: “The
incident was like a film; we could not even continue with the burial of my
father because of the problem and I even lost my best friend who came to help
me. As a family, we feel bad because we couldn’t conclude the burial. My friend
came from Warri because of me, now she
has been buried in Auchi, heir village. We have known each other for years and
it was that Saturday that she came here. She was married with two kids.
have not been able to go back to Warri where I am based even though she has
been buried according to Muslim rites”.