The Lagos State Police Command has dismissed killer police corporal, Aremu Musiliu, for opening fire on a couple in Ijegun, Alimosho, Lagos State.
The 28-year-old was arraigned on Friday before an Ebute Meta Chief Magistrate’s Court on two counts of murder and causing grievous body harm.
The PUNCH had reported that Museliu and some other policemen attached to the Isheri Osun Police Station had mounted a checkpoint on Wednesday at the Obalagbe bus stop, Ijegun Road.
The men were reportedly extorting some tricycle operators in the area, when the victims, Mr. Godwin Ekpo and his wife, Idongesit, were returning from a church programme in their tricycle.
Godwin was said to have mistakenly brushed the policemen van while trying to evade them. Museliu was alleged to have opened fire on the couple, after another policeman smashed their windscreen.
While Idongesit died on the spot, her husband, Godwin, sustained serious injuries and was admitted at a general hospital in the state.
Tricycle operators in the community on Thursday took to the street to protest the killing and alleged harassment of tricycle drivers.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that the police authorities had dismissed the cop after he was tried in an orderly room trial.
The Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Joe Offor, who confirmed the development, said the suspect’s excuses for misusing his firearm were untenable.
He said, “The orderly room trial was constituted in the early hours of Thursday and the authorities were not satisfied with the excuses he gave for the misuse of his firearms. He has been dismissed.”
Asked what would happen to the other policemen said to have been part of the incident, Offor said investigations were ongoing and any other culprit would be appropriately sanctioned.
“It was a single bullet that killed the woman and wounded the man. There is no way eight policemen could have fired a single bullet.
“But investigations are ongoing and if there is any complicity of any other policeman, we will do the needful,” he added.
Musiliu, in an interview with the press, said he never had the intention of killing the victim.
He said he had wanted to stop the driver with a bullet which he aimed at the tyre, adding that the bullet ricocheted the floor and hit Idongesit and her husband.
He said, “It happened 12am in the night, and there were four of us on duty. We were all in uniform and the Hilux van we used was a police vehicle; we did not use any illegal bus.
“We have the instruction to arrest tricycles and motorcycles that ply our roads late in the night. And that was why we did stop-and-search by that time.
“The man had damaged our vehicle and when I asked him to stop, he continued running. I could not just leave him to run away and there was no way I could stop him. I aimed at the tyre and fired a shot, but I missed.
“The bullet hit the ground and bounced in to hit the woman and her husband. The bullet did not hit the man in the stomach, but the jaw. I did not run. The DC came to pick me around 2am at our division where I was detained.”
The suspect was, however, arraigned on Friday on two counts bordering on murder and causing grievous body harm.
The offences were said to be punishable under sections 221 and 243 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2011.
His plea was not taken for the offence. The police prosecutor, Godwin Osuyi of the Legal Section, Department of State Criminal Investigation, Yaba, in a remand application, said the defendant had already confessed to the crime.
He said Musiliu was arrested with exhibits, caught with a weapon, and identified by witnesses.
“There is need for further investigation. We urge the court to remand the defendant in custody for 30 days to enable us to complete all investigations,” he said.