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What Kind of Nation

by CFN on12 June 2004 4120 times

What kind of nation leaves it policemen to die without help, after they were shot by armed robbers on active duty? What kind of nation would not have bed space for injured citizens at its only National Orthopedic Hospital? What kind of nation would demand honest police officers, when those officers have nothing upon which to desire honesty?

These questions become paramount as armed robbers wage a war on the police in Nigeria, killing 67 of them in three months, while those injured are immorally abandoned by the government, their employer. Nigerians like to make the police a punch bag of public decay, but here is one case where we can agree at once that the problem is probably not the police, but the government that cares not about the welfare of its own citizens.

The Vanguard reports the case of four policemen shot on the streets of Lagos, who are only lucky to be alive, but unlucky to the extent that the odds that are now stacked against them are so high it is not too certain they will survive.

Left to their fate:  Police men injured by robbers abandoned in hospitals, send SOS to Obasanjo, Ehindero

In recent times, armed robbery has become a very sophisticated crime in Nigeria as bandits employ all types of mannerisms, armaments and tactics to achieve their objective while more devilish ones sporadically shoot into the air, killing and maiming and leaving behind their regular trade mark of sorrow, tears and blood. From Port Harcourt to Sokoto, Lagos to Maiduguri, the story is same.

Nigeria PoliceRecent statistics have shown that over 100 deaths were recorded in the last quarter of the year just ended resulting from armed robbery attacks in the Lagos metropolis as Christmas and the Moslem feast of Eid-el-Kabir approached. In the same vein, about 67 police men died as a result of encounter with the robbers during the last three months.

At a point, it seemed as if killing policemen was the pay-off line of the bandits as they unleashed terror on the hapless populace. Every day, the story in the dailies runs the same , Robbers kill policemen. One of the most recent being the case at an Abule Egba based bank where the robbers stormed and killed four police men on duty. One of the robbers who was said to be a police informant was said to have confessed to having attended one of the man’s funeral after snuffing life out of him.

At no time has there been the kind of stories about robbers slaying police men than this period in the year. One of the cases the incident at Egbe, near Ikotun in Alimosho LGA of Lagos where ten police men on routine patrol ran into an ambush set by hoodlums who were ransacking a bank along Isolo Road, Egbe, raining a volley of bullets on the unsuspecting patrolmen, killing six of them. Four survived to tell the story but they are now seemingly forgotten at the Military Hospital, Yaba where they are receiving treatment from the wounds they sustained while every one is celebrating Christmas and the new year.

The four men, Patrick Obikoru, Adewale Adeoye, Corporal Akinlolu and another constable, simply called Yemi are clinging on hope that they’ll survive their ordeal inflicted by the underworld men.

When Saturday Vanguard visited the Military Hospital, Yaba where three of the four policemen were on admission, Patrick who was shot on the leg severally was just lying forlornly on the bed, his Holy Bible by his side as he recounted the woes they have been made to endure since that fateful day.

“My brother, no be small thing o. We were on our regular rounds of patrol through Ikotun, Idimu and other neighbouring communities. When we got to Egbe Road, what we heard was sporadic gunfire and the volley of bullets raining towards our vehicle. In the swiftness of a flash, six of our colleagues were all dead in the pools of their own blood. In the end, four of us got lucky and escaped with different kinds of injuries. It was an ambush. I tell you if we had known that the robbers were at work, we would have been better prepared to deal with the situation. I would live to remember that night all the rest of my life because I thought I was already dead as the wound on my leg was bleeding profusely. How else do I thank God for keeping me alive till today. My heart goes out to our fallen colleagues who lost their lives in active duty. Then we started the survival game.

“We were first taken to Subol Hospital where we were rejected outright. The authorities said they were incompetent to handle our case. Then we were moved to Ikeja where they said they didn’t have surgical instruments. From Ikeja, we headed straight to Mushin where the hospital also turned us down. It was the intention of those taking us to start treatment immediately but this time, it was daybreak and the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi became the next port of call. At Igbobi, they had only one bed for us, so one of us, Corporal Akinlolu was admitted. This effort to commence treatment caused Akinlolu’s father to make a frantic call to one of his friends who is close to the authorities at the Military Hospital, Yaba who promptly arranged for us to be admitted and treatment commenced.

“What is painful about this issue is that we all seem to have been abandoned to our own fate. We are the ones bearing the brunt of treatment, drugs, X-rays and general upkeep. You could imagine how difficult it is for us to survive especially at this ember months when every thing is hiked to high heavens.

 Our DPO visited us on that day and promised to take the message to the Area Commander at Ogba, Ikeja. My brother do you know that we haven’t seen anything ever since?

“The accountant of the bank as well as the bank manager have only visited but no show since. I feel so pained that even the police we serve and the bank we were trying to protect have not felt that we deserve to live. At the initial time when we were brought here, I had employed someone to help me out and I was paying that person until my brother left his academics to come and assist me. I want to plead with the Inspector-General of Police, Mr, Sunday Ehindero not to forget that we are his boys and we are in real distress and deserve to live. I joined the Police because I wanted to be part of those who rid the streets of crime and criminals, but now I don’t know how I feel about this job. Just imagine that we lost our lives in this attack just as our colleagues? It would have been saraaa . However, I love to give God the entire  glory for sparing my life.”

Adewale Adeoye’s case seems to be the more pathetic as his injuries sustained seems a bit more serious than the others. He is immobilised on his bed with braces on his waist. His bed spread was drenched in his blood and he was continuously writhing in pain. It was very difficult to get him to talk as he was undergoing treatment. However, he was able to mutter a few words.

“It is a real pity that those who serve the nation get nothing in return for their labours. Every day you hear stories about people who say they called the police in times of distress and no one responded. Is this what you get? You won’t imagine that no one has come to assist except family members, friends and well wishers. As at today, my bill has risen to over N140,000. I have children in both primary and secondary school and my wife is here taking care of me. In the next few days, I would be in for another round of surgeries. So you now can imagine the extent of my misery. I am only very grateful to the nurses and doctors here at the military hospital who accepted to take us when others were saying no.

 They have been so kind. My only wish is that President Obasanjo helps us out of this mess. We are dying by  instalments and no one seems to care. We seem to have been abandoned to our fate even while we were on active duty in service of our dear nation . The president should use this as a point of contact to look into the cases of others in the same situation like us. Since this incident, I have been lying down like this without movement and it is not easy. Considering the amount of blood I have lost, it is only the Almighty God that has kept me alive.

Last modified on 07 January 2007
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