Some policemen in Berger area of Lagos might have found themselves in trouble after allegedly drowning a tricycle rider to death in a river.
The widow of Adama Onikoyi, the slain tricycle rider, and one of the couple’s children, spoke about the family’s predicament with AFEEZ HANAFI, narrating how their father, Onikoyi was killed by policemen in Lagos state.
What is your name?
I am Biliki, widow of Adama.
How old are you?
I am 33 years old.
Can you narrate what led to your husband’s death?
My husband was a tricycle rider and he shuttled between Isheri and Berger. He came back from work around 10pm on Thursday, November 16. Our last child, Zainab, woke up and said she was hungry. I was very tired and could not cook for her. Her father said he would buy noodles for her and he left.
Thirty minutes later, he did not come back. I felt may be he met many customers at the shop. But I became afraid when he did not return after an hour. I called his mobile and it indicated that it was switched off. I was in fear throughout that night.
Early the following day, I started searching for him. A resident told me policemen raided the community the previous day and chased a man to the riverside. The person said he saw some policemen beating one man and that they tore the man’s clothes when he insisted that he would not follow them. I went to the riverside and found my husband’s clothes and ID card there.
I went to the station to know if he was among those arrested during the raid. A policeman I met said he was not arrested. While he was attending to me, another policeman came and said a stubborn boy was pushed inside water.
Around 8am on Saturday, some youths came to tell me that his corpse had floated. I went there and saw injuries in his head and face. Blood were in his eyes. One of his hands was also broken.
Those policemen killed my husband because he refused to follow them. That does not mean they should kill him. The law does not allow such. They did not find anything incriminating on him. They beat him to death. They pushed him into the river.
The police said your husband was a traffic robber and a drug addict. Is that true?
It is a complete lie. My husband did not smoke and he was not a robber. Let them ask the residents, okada (commercial motorcycle) riders and his co-tricycle riders. They will all testify that he was a responsible and decent man. Policemen at the division knew him very well. They have his phone number. Whenever any of them wanted to go to Berger, they called him and he would not collect money from them. They were not supposed to pay him back this way. They have turned me to a widow at this age. Whoever killed my husband will face the wrath of God. The DPO is covering up because he does not want the policemen that pushed him into the river to lose their jobs.
What memories did he leave behind for the family?
My husband was a loving man. He could come home five times in a day from work to ask after his children. He bought a lot of things for them. If he took a passenger to an eatery, he would buy something for his children too. He never allowed our children to go hungry. It pains me when I remember that the person who did all of these things is no longer alive. He did not take the upkeep of our children lightly.
What do you think is the way forward for your family?
I am confused. This is a burden forced on me overnight. I don’t know the way forward. I don’t know where to start from with four children. I don’t know who to turn to. I have to pay rent, their school fees and ensure their well-being. We have been left to our fate. Who will help me to take care of four children with the present economic situation in the country? It is not easy for a family to take care of four children, let alone catering to other people’s children. Look at what those policemen have caused. We may now have to be going from one relative to another to beg for money to eat and pay school fees. The upbringing of the children is beyond my means and I am worried.
What do you want the government to do?
I want to know those that killed my husband. The police should stop telling lies. The culprits should be charged to court. My husband must not die for an offence he did not commit.
As it is, government killed my husband and they should not abandon the family. We don’t have anybody to run to.
Police have turned us to nobody’s children – Daughter
What is your name?
I am Mulikat Onikoyi.
How old are you?
I am 11 years old.
What class are you?
I am in Primary Six.
What is your position in the family?
We are four children and I am the second child.
What can you say about your family?
We are a happy family. My father made home lively for us with his jokes. He really loved us.
What do you know about your father?
My father was a responsible and caring father. He always tried to satisfy us his children and he used to buy many things for us. He loved us so much and we loved him too. Whenever he went out to work, he would come back home with gifts for me and my siblings.
How did you feel when you heard that he was dead?
I felt very bad. His death was very painful. His body was found in the water last Saturday. My mother begged me to go to school on Monday so that I would not be crying at home. But when I got to school, I cried seriously. It was my friends who hugged me and told me to stop crying.
What were things that your father used to do for you and your siblings?
Any time daddy went out and we told him to buy things for us, he would surely buy them. Despite the condition of the family, he never let us suffer. He promised to give me money for Common Entrance examination and sport wears on Monday, before he was found dead in the river.
How do you think you and your siblings will cope without your father?
I don’t know how we are going to cope. I hope our family will assist our mother to take care of us because she only has a small shop.
The policemen that killed my father have done badly to us. They have turned us to children of nobody. We will now be calling somebody else’s father before we can get care. They have denied us the things our father was doing for us when he was alive.