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How A Thirty-year-old Commercial Motorcyclist Was Killed By Stray Bullet In Osogbo

Another innocent life was lost penultimate Thursday in Osogbo, no thanks to a stray bullet that reportedly originated from a policeman in an incident to which the victim had no connection whatsoever. 

Thirty-year-old Saheed Olabomi was a commercial motorcyclist taking a passenger towards Old Oba Road in the Osun State capital on Tuesday, 27th July, when he ran into stray death. The bullet allegedly fired nearby by police personnel hit him in the face and left him on life support at the Osun State University Teaching Hospital from which he never recovered. On Thursday, 29th July, he gave up the ghost.

The late Olabomi, who had a wife and two children besides surviving parents, was said to have studied Business Administration at the Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin, and earned an Ordinary National Diploma. His vocation as at death apparently was necessitated by prevailing economic conditions of this country.

Accounts slightly varied as to the exact circumstance of Olabomi’s death, but there was no question its cause was the stray bullet from a policeman. Some said as he was taking his passenger towards Old Oba Road, he ran into traffic gridlock at the popular Oke Onitea junction where some riot policemen were deployed to clear the road. 

The riot policemen were reportedly leaving the area when they fired some shots in the air, one of which hit Olabomi in the face. Other accounts linked the mishap to an altercation between the police personnel and some tipper drivers upon which the police officers allegedly started shooting, with one of the bullets hitting Olabomi. It was alleged that the policemen engaged a tipper driver who resisted arrest for causing traffic along the route in an argument, and eventually shot in the air while leaving the scene. 

While regretting the incident, the Osun State police command said the suspected culprit, whose identity it didn’t disclose, had been apprehended and arraigned in an orderly room trial. It vowed justice would be done. 

The command had initially attempted to mitigate liability for the incident, with its spokesperson reported saying contrary to claims that the policeman shot at the victim, the gunshot was fired into the ground and the bullet spiked a stone that hit Olabomi. It was apparently that narrative the command was walking back when in a subsequent statement it apologised for the previous information on the matter, saying “it was due to misinformation from the culprit and some other testifiers that claimed to have witnessed the incident.”

It is good that the suspect is facing justice, only that nothing done now would bring back poor Olabomi. So, the question must be asked why policemen on urban traffic duty were hauling around live ammunition they felt like freely using. Besides the need to better educate some service personnel, there must be greater accountability for weaponry that tax payers funded. Mr. Inspector-General, get killer cops off our highways!

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