Ogbomoso…Counting losses days after
The ancient town of Ogbomoso in Oyo State set the tone for lives to be lost and property to be destroyed in the EndSARS protests. By the time the protest, which started on Sunday peaceful was to end, 24-year-old Isiaka Jimoh had been killed by yet-to-be identified persons.
The death of Jimoh, according to the residents, stirred up so much anger and pain in the city which led to a re-mobilisation of the protesters who unleashed their anger and pain on the royal property as well as those of some individuals who were in the palace at the time.
Religious leaders, community leaders, groups, opinion leaders among other relevant stakeholders were attending a meeting at the palace.
After he was shot, Jimoh was rushed to the Bowen Teaching Hospital in Ogbomoso, where he later died.
His father, Mr Jimoh Atanda, who described his son as ‘a cool headed boy’, said he was not expecting the death of his son.
Narrating how he received the news of the death of his son, Mr Jimoh said: “I was at Orita Merin coming from Aroje when I received a call from his sister that her brother had been shot and I asked how because I am aware he was a coolheaded boy.
“His sister said that he (Isiaka) was called by his mother and decided to take a road where the protest is taking place. He was seen from afar watching the scene but was hit by the gun fired by police of Ogbomoso. He was rushed to Bowen Teaching Hospital, we tried so much to save him by donating blood. I and the mother donated blood immediately it was requested but we eventually lost him.
“Jimoh was due to have his graduation to become a trained electrician on Sunday (days after he dies) but death took him away.”
His mother, Ramota Jimoh, confirmed speaking with him few minutes before he was killed, warning him not to take part in the protest.
“I lived at Oke Owode, when I heard of the protest, I called him and he picked the call. I asked him where he was and he said he was on his way home from work. Few minutes later, I called back and the call was through, his father later called me to come over to Bowen Teaching Hospital that my son was hit by a gun. I rushed there and I was asked to donate blood and I did but the place he got hit was bad and I was hopeful but we later lost him.”
Although the parents have accepted fate on the death of their son, they appealed to government and well-meaning individuals to help support the family left behind by the deceased.
How crisis erupted
In an interaction with an eyewitness, who declined to have his name, he said the protest actually started peaceful until it turned into a riot by the shots from the police.
“We started the protest peacefully and marched to the palace of Soun of Ogbomoso, the King sent someone to us and charged us not to cause any problem as we protest. From there, we marched to the Police Station at Owode, we asked for the Area Commander to speak to us as we have a petition to submit, we waited for one hour and later asked those on seat to address us but we were surprised as the DPO was seen holding a gun.
“Many of us got furious about him holding a gun as the protest was a peaceful one and we didn’t come for a fight. The Leader of Ogbomoso Parapo later came to address us and asked us to go back to the Palace but to my surprise as we were heading back, I heard a gunshot followed by tear gas and when I looked back, I discovered that someone had been hit by the shot fired and the person happened to be Jimoh.
“Jimoh was actually living in the area but he was not involved in the protest as he was just in his shop before he decided to step out and he was still far from the scene. As he was hit, many gathered around him and rushed him to Bowen Teaching Hospital where he gave up the ghost after losing blood.
“This actually got his neighbourhood friends and peer group angry but they were calm but turned uncontrollably on Sunday when they heard the police said they didn’t shoot or kill anyone during the protest. They marched back to the police station at Owode where two people were killed again and their bodies dumped at the police station before they moved them to the Palace of Soun of Ogbomoso.
“When the minister came around to visit the king, the guys matched to the palace to vandalise and destroy the palace”, the source noted.
Speaking of behalf of Soun of Ogbomoso, the Secretary to the Palace, Mr Toyin Ajamu, also confirmed that no death occurred in the palace, noting that the bodies were brought into the palace by the rioters.
He explained that “on noticing the presence of the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, they (protesters) forced themselves into the palace to destroy the property. Luckily enough, no one was killed but about nine cars were destroyed.
“Nobody was shot in the palace. Some people didn’t verify that information before posting news online. The dead bodies were brought into the palace.”
Governor Seyi Makinde, who was away in Ondo State as the Chairman of the PDP Campaign Committee for the governorship election, paid a sympathy visit to the Soun, and a condolence visit to the families of the Jimoh Isiaka and two other victims of the crisis.
The governor donated N100million for the repair of the palace and other things damaged. He also gave N1million each to the three identified families of deceased.
The governor appealed to the monarch to forgive the perpetrators saying: “I want to believe that you are not their real target. Because if you were, immediately they entered, they would have attacked you.
“But they were looking for where to destroy to draw the attention of the government to their side. I am not supporting what they have done but it has been done already and we have to engage them.
“So, I am sincerely sorry for this level of damage, sir. Your children did it. That is part of the price we have to pay for the current state of the country. Kabiyesi, as a government, we will do everything possible to ensure there is palliative. We will also ensure that we beautify the structure.”