“IMMORTALIZE MY SON”, says Pa E.A. Aderinto

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Today, January 17, 2012, Spaces for Change’s (S4C’s) volunteer, Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri visited the family of Pa E.A. Aderinto, guardian to the deceased Ademola Aderinto who was brutally murdered by the overzealous divisional police officer of the Pen Cinema Police Station , ASP Segun Fabunmi on January 9, 2012. S4C’s information and evidence-gathering visit of sorts opened up important perspectives regarding the character of official responses to the tragic incidents resulting from the nationwide protests and strikes against the removal of fuel subsidies.

Bitter, angry and grief-stricken, Pa Aderinto narrated how he adopted the deceased some years ago, and trained him as a fashion designer. Late Ademola had concluded plans to move into a new apartment in March, in addition to other great plans he had for the year.  Unknown to him, death was lurking around the corner.
The deceased Ademola was fond of reading sports news at the popular newsstand at Yaya Abatan junction in Ogba, Lagos. On that fateful morning of January 9, 2012, he joined a crowd of “free readers’’ who clustered at the junction discussing and analyzing the state of the nation. Hardly did he spend up to 40 minutes when a team of heavily armed police men in a Rapid Response van swerved across the junction, jumped out in a commando style, and started maiming the confused readers.

“Why are you wasting time? FINISH THEM!” bellowed ASP Segun Fabunmi who led the patrol.  Sensing that his subordinates were not complying with his shoot-at-sight directive, he grabbed a rifle from a sergeant among them, and opened fire on the youngsters. Four people were felled by his bullets as the crowd of “analysts” fled in different directions. Ademola died a few minutes later, leaving behind four lucky survivors – Alimi Abubakar, 40; Samuel Ebujo, 23, and Idara Monday, 16 – all of whom sustained with life-threatening injuries.

Staring blankly at the late Ademola’s motorcycle slanting across the wall, he wished that the deceased would stroll in and tease him, as usual, before zooming off. His narratives were punctuated with intermittent sighs and nods of grief. Further aggravating his pain is that no representative of either the state or federal government (the originators of the strike) has made an attempt to visit and condole the family despite the public show of sympathy and crocodile tears shed by political leaders at the state and federal levels.  Except the Ifako Ijaiye local government chairman, Hon Toba Oke, and member of the House of Representatives representing the Ifako Ijaiye constituency – (both of whom graciously paid the survivors’ hospital bills), no single official of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC), the Lagos State Police Command let alone the office of the Inspector General of Police has reached out to the grieving family.  

Spaces for Change visited the three survivors in their homes to gain first-hand information regarding the shootings. Also visited were several eye witnesses who shared their ordeals in the hands of government security agents. Stories of tears and blood rented the air, just as most of them shared fairly uniform accounts of the January 9 incident.

PA Aderinto has only three wishes: he wants the state to provide financial support to Ademola’s parents and siblings who depended on the deceased for their daily sustenance. Secondly, he wants Ademola to be immortalized, preferably by putting up his statue at the Yaya Abatan junction.  Thirdly and most importantly, the family wants the state to ensure that the killer of their beloved son does not go unpunished. Will his wishes ever be granted? Only time will tell!

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