Contrary to reports credited to the police authorities that hoodlums taking advantage of #Endsars protests shot and killed Police Inspector Ayodeji Erinfolami of the Anti-Cultism and Kidnappings Unit of the Lagos State Police Command, on October 12,2020 during the #Endears protest, the family of the late gallant policeman has come out to say it was his fellow policemen that shot and killed him.
The Erinfolami family of Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State has therefore petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, asking for a probe of the circumstances that led to the death of their son, and also demanding a compensation of N400 million in lieu of the death of the family bread winner.
The late Inspector Erinfolami was shot and killed on October 12, 2020 during the #Endears protest. The protesters had gone to the Anti-Cultism and Kidnappings Unit, Barracks, Surulere as part of their protests.
A petition dated November 28,2020, written by Mr Jiti Ogunye, lawyer to the Erinfolami family, and addressed to the IGP stated: “In a bid to dissuade the protesters from protesting in the vicinity of the said Unit, men and officers of the Unit and/or policemen and officers from other units or formations were deployed on the scene to forcibly break the peaceful protest. While so deployed, the said policemen and officers shot sporadically and indiscriminately at the protesters. Unfortunately, the deceased, Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami was shot by a fellow policeman in the abdominal part of his body which led to his disembowelment and gruesome and very painful death”.
Ogunye based the family’s position on the statement credited to Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who in a media report gave the names of the policemen whose shot killed Erinfolami and other victims as Inspector Bagou Michael, Inspector Ekpoudom Etop, Sergeant Nnamdi Madura; and Sergeant Akinyemi Benson.
Below is the full text of the Erinfolami petition to the IGP:
“We act as Solicitors to the family of Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami (“the Deceased”) of No. 61, Ifeoluwa Community, Ajebandele, Off Ikere Road, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State ( hereinafter referred to as “our client”) on whose behalf and instruction we write this letter.
The members of our client’s family have informed us and we verily believe them as follows:
- That Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami was, until his gruesome killing, an officer of the Nigeria Police Force with NPF (Force) Number 229241, serving in the Anti- Cultism and Kidnapping Unit, Area “C” SCID of the Lagos State Police Command, Nigeria Police Force, Surulere, Lagos State.
- That on the 12th of October, 2020, a group of protesters, who apparently were a part of the nationwide EndSARS movement led their protests to the Anti-Cultism and Kidnapping Unit, Area C, SCID of the Lagos State Police Command, Nigeria Police Force, Surulere, Lagos State; Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami’s place of primary assignment.
- That Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami, aged 38, who had put in about 18 years service in the police force was in the Unit or in the precinct thereof when the EndSARS protesters massed up to demand the dissolution or disbandment of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
- That in a bid to dissuade the protesters from protesting in the vicinity of the said Unit, men and officers of the Unit and/or policemen and officers from other units or formations were deployed on the scene to forcibly break the peaceful protest.
- That while so deployed, the said policemen and officers shot sporadically and indiscriminately at the protesters.
- That unfortunately, the deceased, Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami was shot by a fellow policeman in the abdominal part of his body which led to his disembowelment and gruesome and very painful death.
- That another Nigerian, Mr. Okechukwu Iloamuazor, a driver, who, for being stuck in the traffic snarl occasioned by the protests, had gone out of his driver’s seat to ease himself and stretch out, was also shot dead by the policemen.
- That at a media briefing held in Lagos on Thursday 15th October, 2020, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwoolu, who, following the killings, paid a commiseration visit to the family of the slain Okechukwu Iloamuazor, disclosed the identities of the policemen who used live weapons to disperse the EndSARS protesters on that fateful day, and who, we must, in the absence of any contrary indication, presume were responsible for the killing of Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami and Mr. Okechukwu Iloamuazor.
- The said policemen, named by His Excellency, Governor Babajide Sanwoolu, who, according to the Governor, were being investigated and undergoing police orderly room disciplinary protocols are: Inspector Bagou Michael, Inspector Ekpoudom Etop, Sergeant Nnamdi Madura; and Sergeant Akinyemi Benson.
- That by eyewitness accounts, after the fatal shooting of Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami, his colleagues did not come to his aid until he bled to death, perhaps out of panic, fear of taking responsibility, or owing to the possibility that his killing was premeditated, a premeditation, which the protest disbandment or dispersal atmosphere had created an opportunity for its sinister actualization.
- That after the unfortunate incident, the Lagos State Police Command issued a false and cruel statement, claiming that Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami and Mr. Okechukwu Iloamuazor were killed by irate protesters who invaded the said Police Unit with guns and attacked the said Area C Police Command.
- That contrary to the claim of the police authorities, there are documentary evidence, including videos and photographs which show that the shootings in the vicinity of the protest were carried out only by policemen in their reckless bid to disperse the unarmed protesters.
- That in fact, one of the video footages from the scene of the incident clearly shows that while an attempt was being made by a good Samaritan to save the Deceased Inspector upon being felled by bullets but the police officers continued shooting indiscriminately until the protesters were dispersed by the raging gun shots from the police officers. The deceased was left to bleed to death in a pool of his own blood.
- That the Nigeria Police Force, either at the level of the Force Headquarters, Lagos Zonal (Zone 2) Command, Lagos State Police Command, Area C Police Command, or the Anti-Cultism and Kidnapping Unit, has not, up to the time of writing this petition ( sixteen days after the gruesome killing) communicated the fact of Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami’s death officially or unofficially ( formally or informally) to his family, including his next of kin, let alone sending a delegation to commiserate with the family. Beyond depositing the remains of the deceased at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital Mortuary, Ikeja, Lagos, the Nigeria Police Force has not issued any official statement clearly and truthfully stating the circumstances of the death of Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami.
- That at the time of his death, Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami had many dependants, including his wife ( Mrs. Olamide Erinfolami, aged 38 years); his only child ( Ayotomiwa Erinfolami, son, who is 10 years old), his two nephews, children of his late brother for whose welfare he was responsible ( Samuel Erinfolami, 13 years old; and Oluwasina Erinfolami,7 years old); the father of the deceased ( Pa Jimoh Erinfolami who is 77 years old); and his mother ( Madam Aina Erinfolami, who is 72 years old).
From the foregoing narration of facts and circumstances of the killing of Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami, it is indisputable that his right to life, guaranteed under Section 33(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, was callously breached. Before his death, his right to the dignity of the human person, enshrined under Section 34 of the said Constitution, was also violated, even if it was for a fleeting moment.
By being shot and left to bleed to death in excruciating agony, he was subjected to torture, an act prohibited by the said Section. It is our firm view that the facts and circumstances of the killing of Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami do not reveal any lawful excuse or constitutional justification for the killing. He had not been sentenced to death, and his killing was not an execution of a death sentence as ordered by a court of law following his conviction of a capital punishment offence. He was not an armed robber who was killed during exchange of gunfire with a law enforcement officer; neither was he killed by a property owner in self defence and protection to counter or preemptively ward off an impending fatal gun-attack. Also, he was not killed while he was engaged in a violent riot. There was, therefore, no reasonable or lawful excuse for his killing. His killing is totally unwarranted.
No doubt, the unlawful killing of Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami is an act of murder. It was an extra-judicial killing by the police. This act of murder is bereft of any exculpatory or mitigating circumstance. It was not a case of negligence, in which a duty of care, owed the deceased by a fellow officer who lawfully and legitimately was using firearms, was breached; a breach which resulted in damage. Negligence occurs if there is a justification to carry out an act in the first place, an act which was improperly carried out; or when there is a duty to act, which duty was not performed or was neglected. In this case, the police officers who shot and killed Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami had no duty, power or legal right to use live weapons to disperse unarmed peaceful protesters. It was during that unlawful use of firearms that Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami was killed.
The killing was totally unwarranted. The defence of accidental discharge, mistake, automatism or target error will not avail the killer policemen.
The fact that this gross abuse by the police was perpetrated against a police officer should not be a reason to downplay, trivialize or cover it up, because of its embarrassing and self-indicting nature. Given the pervasive loss of confidence by the citizenry in the preparedness of the police to deal with the demon of extra judicial-killings in the police force, as exemplified by the EndSARS protests, the Nigeria Police Force owes a bounden duty to use the case of Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami to demonstrate that it is still capable of doing investigative justice based on the principle of equal treatment of all before the law.
The cruelly- shed blood of Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami (“the Deceased”) is crying for justice. His dependants and other members of his family, who are in inconsolable grief, thirst for justice. And the society, whose psyche is perpetually bruised and whose sense of justice is perennially assaulted by wanton loss of lives in our Country, deserves that justice be served. The Deceased was the bread winner of his family. His dependents will suffer, if abandoned by the Police without care or adequate compensation, a compensation, which in the true sense, can never be adequate, given the irreplaceable loss of life involved.
Based on the foregoing premises, we hereby demand as follows:
- That an investigation be conducted into the unlawful killing of Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami by the said police officers, leading to their prosecution for murder, and punishment under the law.
- That the sum of Four Hundred Million Naira ( #.400 million) exemplary damages ( compensation) be paid to the dependents (family) of Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami for his unlawful killing, forthwith, and not later than thirty ( 30) days of the delivery of this petition, to assuage the irreparable loss.
- That an official delegation from the NPF should visit the family of Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami to condole with, and officially break the news of his death to them. This is not a mere symbolism or ritual. For the parents of the Deceased, aged people, who, in spite of our torn social fabric and broken value system, hold dear still the virtues and ideals of showing empathy to the crushed in spirit and the grieving who have suffered loss of human lives, the demanded condolence visit is therapeutic. It could serve as a humane gesture to heal their wound.
- That the NPF should undertake the funeral, and the funeral expenses of Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami.
TAKE NOTICE that should the Nigeria Police Force, the Police Service Commission and your good self, jointly and severally refuse, fail or neglect to accede to the demands of our client, herein made, we shall not hesitate to initiate the requisite legal action to seek redress.
We shall be grateful if you could use your good offices to promptly commence investigation into the extra judicial killing of the Deceased, and help actualize our demands listed above.
Kindly accept the assurances of our highest regards.
Jiti Ogunye Esq.
Please note that photographic and video evidence of the shooting and killing of Inspector Ayodeji Bankole Erinfolami, are submitted herewith.
Police Service Commission
Federal Secretariat Complex,
Shehu Shagari Way
2) Commissioner of Police,
Lagos State Police Command