Protesters in Waterside LGA, Ogun State, on Thursday locked down the area over the death of a pregnant woman, Waidat Adedeji, who reportedly died after she was unduly delayed by policemen enforcing a lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The protesters also accused one of the policemen of ‘mistakenly’ hitting the victim while she was on her way to access medicare.
The police have denied the allegation.
The protesters, who later besieged the Abigi Divisional Police Headquarters, said the victim would have survived “if she was not delayed by the police officers” as she made her way to Ita-Otu General Hospital, Ibiade.
A source said Mrs Adedeji, who was carrying a seven months old pregnancy, woke up around 6 a.m. bleeding.
While her husband would have taken her to the hospital with his motorcycle, the lockdown in the state would not permit him.
Instead, he called on a neighbor who is a ‘Man O War’ member to assist him “so he could talk to the police officers at checkpoints”.
As expected, they were reportedly stopped by officers at Sore River checkpoint “who asked them why they refused to use face masks, obey social distance and lockdown order in the state,” the source added.
“The police stopped the motorcycle to question why the lockdown order was not being obeyed. They were delayed for hours while she (Mrs Adedeji) continued to bleed,” Oduroye Akintayo, the cousin of the deceased told our correspondent.
The picture of the deceased during her life time
“Not happy with the delay, the man (Man O War) driving the motorcycle had ‘tough talks’ and disagreement with the officers condemning them for not considering the ‘dying’ woman. In the process, an officer in anger tried to hit his torch light on the bikeman. Unable to dodge, the torch light was mistakenly smashed on the pregnant woman,” he said.
He said “after they were eventually released, Mrs Adedeji died before getting to the hospital.”
Angered by the development, youth in the community took the remains of Mrs Adedeji to the Abigi Divisional Police Headquarters.
“When we got to the police station, we dropped the remains of the woman on their counter and some of the officers ran away,” a protester said.
Also, a right activist, Festus Ogun, who said he knew about the matter told PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday that the youth only demanded justice.
“Justice must not just be done to the life wasted, it must be seen to have been done,” he said. “While I’m sure the Ogun State Police Command would deny the facts and come with bogus lies, they must be told that the truth is sacred and impunity would have no place in this country.”
This newspaper gathered that it took the intervention of the community leaders to pacify the protesting youth before the corpse was taken out of the police station by her families for burial.
PREMIUM TIMES repeatedly tried to contact the police spokesperson in Ogun State, but his known telephone numbers did not connect.
He was, however, quoted by Tribune online to have exenorated his men from the incident.
Protesters at Police station
“Our officers were not responsible for the pregnant woman’s death,” he reportedly told Tribune. “There were three occupants on a motorcycle as against the directive of the state government that only two people should occupy a motorcycle at a time.”
He explained: “They were stopped and interrogated on why they did not obey the sit at home order. They informed the police that the woman was being conveyed to hospital for delivery, and having noticed that the woman was in pains, our men allowed them to proceed.”
Nigeria’s rights commission estimates that over 11 Nigerians have been killed by security operatives enforcing the sporadic lockdowns called by the federal and state governments as part of measures to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Nigerian lawmakers recently called for a probe into the extrajudicial killings.
PREMIUM TIMES also reported how more Nigerian were killed by security operatives than coronavirus did within two weeks.