By Ibrahim Ikowe Jibril
Monday December 14, 2020 is a day Malam Yunus Ismail shall never forget. It was the day the Agege trader was shot in the legs by men of the Nigerian police in the course of putting down a clash between cultists in Agege.
Ismail is not new to Agege. The 42 year old man has a mixed blood. His father was from Kano while the mother is Yoruba from Abeokuta, Ogun State. This however did not prevented what happened to on the fateful day.
More painful to him however was the case of another seven year old girl who also fell victim of sporadic shooting by the police on the same day. According to Ismail, the little girl was brought to Lagos a week earlier by her mother after the father fell victim of Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast. The hope of the mother that should could engage in begging in Lagos to make ends meet with her daughter. The life of the young girl ended before it began through a police bullet that pierced her face. She died before she could get medical help.
Thegavel.com.ng interviewed Malam Ismail, who in tears narrated what happened in the fateful day:
“As is usual in a market, we started our trading peacefully soon after the Muslim early morning prayers. We had information earlier that some agberos or cultists were fighting since the previous day. So policemen were there to make peace.
Railway side is different from Total under bridge. Our ways with those boys are totally different, why should police even come to our place when it was not the venue of the fracas?
We were sitting in the same area where beggars also stay, working on our daily bread when we realized everybody was running. What you could hear was police, olopa, or Yan sanda. In fact I was confused and didn’t even know which direction to follow and there were shootings.
When I was shot in the leg I didn’t know, but I began to see blood coming down and out of my trousers. When I knew it was a gunshot, there was a police man beside me, I said Oga police look, you have shot me! No, he quickly replied and said is not me that shot you o.
As I was raising my head towards the beggars side, my sight caught the shooting of a seven year old girl who’s father was also killed by Boko Haram in the Northeast. The mother brought her to Lagos seven days earlier so that they can beg and eat since no one cares. So I and the girl were down, then one of my brothers, Malam Salis took us inside the car, the girl was still breathing when we got to Isokoko Police Division.
We needed a paper from the police since it was a bullet wound but Isokoko refused to give us paper, they asked us to go to Area G. So we turned back and started moving towards area G.
We were on our way when she gave up the ghost. I came down from the car took okada to Area G, where I was given paper, I went to Ikeja General Hospital. So that the car can carry back the girl to Agege”.
Thegavel.com.ng correspondent visited the Sarki of Agege, Alhaji Musa Dogon Kadai to ask if the palace was aware, but he said he was not aware that a girl was shot dead. In his words, “since you people are well informed about and you know Yunus meet him and have all the fact, but you can’t have any answer from me”.
Efforts to have the girls name and that of the mother proved abortive, because she left for Kano soon after the burial of her daughter. Malam Yunus Ismail said, I don’t know their names. Agege is a jungle. As they come, so they go, who’s name are you retaining?
He continued: “These tears in my eyes are not for me but for that poor little 7 years old girl that was shot in my presence and my very naked eyes, oh poor girl!
When asked if his leg has healed, he replied: “I still have two bullets in my legs unremoved. I have no money to complete the treatment’. He therefore called on the government to please come to his aid”.