As at 8am on Monday, Mrs Olufunke Odebiyi was yet to know that her son, Kolade Johnson, had been killed by operatives of the Special Anti-Cultism Squad of the Lagos State Police Command.
In her usual routine, she sent a message to all her children, including Kolade, on Monday to wish them good tidings for the new month, not knowing that Kolade had been killed the previous evening.
The message, which was made available to PUNCH Metro read, “May Almighty God clothe your days with favour and divine upliftment now and beyond. May he be your shield and protect all that he has given to you. God will mark you and your family out of danger and untimely death. You will enjoy the full benefit of God. You will never sow your seeds for birds to eat. Rejoice for victory has found you and your household and it shall be good news in your family this week and beyond in Jesus Mighty name I pray. Amen. Good morning. Remain blessed and have a fruitful day. Jesus is Lord…….Shalom.”
His stepbrother, Boluwade Awakan, who was in custody of Kolade’s phone after he was killed, said he was heartbroken when the message came in and he had to call family members to break the news to their mother.
SARS operatives, on Sunday, stormed Olu Aboderin Street in the Onipetesi area of Lagos while the victim was watching a live English Premiership League football match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.
The operatives were said to have arrested a man, identified simply as Ismail, who was said to be seeing off his girlfriend to the bus stop, but residents protested against the arrest.
One of the operatives allegedly shot in the air to disperse the crowd, but a bullet hit Kolade where he stood and before he could be rushed to hospital, he gave up the ghost.
Speaking with our correspondent on Monday, Awakan, said, “We informed our mother of the incident this morning around 9am with the help of some family members and she didn’t take it kindly, because she had sent a message to everyone this morning and Kolade’s phone was with me when the message was delivered.”
Awakan urged the Lagos State Police Command to identify the officers and ensure that justice was served.
Meanwhile, Nigerians, including celebrities, have taken to the social media to condemn Kolade’s death, urging the Federal Government to scrap all the units under the police force.
Their outrage came under various trending hashtags, including, #JuisticeforKola #EndSARS #EndSACS #EndSAKS #PoliceReforms #EndPolicebrutality and #ReformPoliceNG.
However, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Bala Elkana, said in a statement that members of the team involved in Kolade’s shooting were now in custody.
“Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police, Zubairu Mu’azu, calls for calm, assuring all that justice will prevail in this case. The Commissioner of Police also condoles with the family, friends and well-wishers of Kolade Johnson. The CP has promised to initiate far-reaching reforms to help in repositioning the Anti-Cultism Squad for effective service delivery, particularly in areas of respect for human rights and proficiency in the use of firearms.”