The death of the Managing Director, Lekki Free Trade Zone, Alhaji Tajudeen Disu was caused by police bullet, leaders of Okunraye community have claimed
This claim was contained in an affidavit in support of a Fundamental rights suit filed before a Lagos High Court against the police, Directorate of State Security (DSS) and Dangote group.
The leaders who condemned the detention of their community members, alleged that contrary to reports on the incident that occurred on October 12, it was stray bullet from the mobile policemen that hit Disu from behind and killed him instantly.
In the suit filed before Justice Raliatu Adebiyi, brought under Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution and Articles 23(1)(4)(5)(6) (7), 12 (1) and 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, 2004, one Alhaji Surajudeen Salami, who deposed to the affidavit recalled that the Lagos State Government, sometimes in 2007, forcefully acquired their land from them.
Joined as plaintiffs in the suit with Salami are Jubriala Balogun, Akibu Razak, Baale Yesiru Amusa (suing for themselves and on behalf of the people of Okunraye Town).
Meanwhile the community also sued the Inspector General of Police, Lagos Police Commissioner, Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS), the Nigerian Army and Ibeju Lekki Local Government.
Salami said the people of Okunraye had their homes and native buildings on the land, which was also their source of livelihood.
According to him, Disu was killed on a day the community leaders were to meet with Dangote Group, to discuss issues pertaining job provision for eligible community youths in the massive project the company was erecting on their land.
Salami said they had made several attempts to discuss with Dangote management but to no avail, adding that the development forced the youths to barricade the entrance into the project site of Dangote in an attempt to compel the company to discuss with the community.
At about 9am, Salami said he was informed that a large group of mobile policemen had surrounded the entrance to the project and were burning down the barricade as well as other obstruction.
He recalled that the policemen stormed the community on the fateful day and started releasing tear-gas and shooting in the air, adding that at the time the shooting was on-going, the Divisional Police Office in charge of the area was at the palace of the Baale of Okunraye to discuss on how the issue could be resolved.
At that point, Salami said: “Some members then rushed to the Baale’s House to inform him of a mayhem on-going outside and how the policemen had burnt down the barricade. The DPO left Baale’s House to go and confirm the report.
“When I got there, I met the Managing Director of Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ) Limited, Mr Tajudeen Disu; Alhaji Jegede, Chairman of Resettlement Committee, and the Baale of Igiye Community.
“When we were imploring Disu, Alhaji Jegede and the Baale of Igiye Community to stop policemen from shooting because the members of Okunraye Community did not want to fight and only wanted to discuss with Dangote management, the police refused to stop shooting and then a stray bullet hit Mr Disu from behind and he died instantly.”
He said the bullet also hit a young woman from the community and she sustained injury on the arm.
Salami, who said he saw the policeman that pulled the trigger that killed Disu, alleged that the policemen stop shooting when they realised that a stray bullet had killed Disu.
He added that himself and others left the scene immediately to take the injured woman to the hospital, and that by the time they came back, the remains of Disu had been removed from the scene.
In the suit, the plaintiffs want an order directing the respondents to release them unconditionally from custody; an order declaring their arrest and continuous detention as wrongful and a sharp contravention of their fundamental human rights, as well as a declaration that the invasion of their community on October 12, 2015 and their subsequent arrests constituted a threat to life, freedom, private and family life.
They also want a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from arresting, detaining, harassing, invading Okunraye community or otherwise violating their fundamental human rights.
When the matter came up before Justice Adebiyi on Tuesday, the applicants’ lawyer, Akinlabi Apara informed the court of an ex-parte application and other processes filed in the suit, but the judge said she she would not take any hasty decision in the matter without studying the file.
She said the matter was just brought to her knowledge and that she needed time to understand the issues involved and adjourned to October 21.