The family of the late Olabanji Ikuelogbon, a police officer who was allegedly killed by a driver, Saidi Gani, in the Adekunle area of the Third Mainland Bridge, Lagos State, has been thrown into mourning following his death.
PUNCH Metro gathered that Olabanji was on his way home after a night shift before he got knocked down by a Volkswagen Sharon bus with number plate KTU 987 FJ in the early hours of Saturday, December 22, 2018.
Olabanji’s brother, Gbenro, while lamenting his brother’s death, said the family had to make plans for his burial after being informed of the accident.
The building engineer said, “What his colleague told us was that he had an accident on his way from work around 7am. In fact, he was in his uniform when he died. In our own little way as a family, we rallied round to ensure that he was buried, because we didn’t want such a bad incident to spill over to the new year.
“The police have abandoned us; they are just dribbling us. They refused to honour the memory of one of their officers, who died while in service. Despite their promises, they have refused to do anything.
“Normally, when a police officer dies, they are supposed to embalm the corpse, but when we got to the military hospital in Yaba the next day, we met his corpse on the floor. We were the ones who paid for the embalmment despite the fact that they were the ones that took his remains there.
“We complained at the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Yaba, because they were the ones handling the case; but they said he was not under their unit and directed us to Mopol 22, Oduduwa, where his zone falls under.
“When we got there, we complained, but nothing was done. I just got back to Lagos yesterday (Saturday) after taking his corpse to Ondo State on Friday for burial that same day. It was the family that handled everything; the police refused to support us and we have yet to hear from them.”
Olabanji’s elder brother, Clement, said the police refused to act regarding the corpse of the deceased despite the fact that an obituary announcement was given to them.
He stated, “When I spoke with the admin officer on the phone, he said we should have made a request. I told him that when we met with the unit commander, he told us that the admin officer would handle everything. He (Olabanji) was one of their officers and we are the ones to ask what we should do as the concerned family and not that they would abandon us.
“This incident is sorrowful; as I am speaking to you, I am not yet myself but I have to speak because I am a man. The police refused to carry out their responsibility; it was when we dropped his obituary at their admin department that a signal was raised for us to give same to their unit in Ore, Ondo State.
“They said they were going to give us officers to escort us to Ondo, but nothing was done. We handled everything as a family; they completely abandoned us and it is really sad for them to do something like that to one of their officers, who died in the line of duty.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Chike Oti, who sympathised with the bereaved family, said the command did not abandoned the fallen officer, adding that the delay was as a result of the verification process to ascertain the validity of the people laying claims to the entitlements of the deceased.
Oti said, “We don’t abandon our own when death occurs; we have our own tradition of commiserating with bereaved families and necessary financial compensation and entitlements of the deceased are normally handed over to the next of kin.
“However, it must be after a verification process to ascertain whether the people laying claims to the entitlements of the deceased are genuine; it was in that process that the delay occurred in the case of Olabanji. Once that is done, and the court is satisfied that the claimants are genuine, there is no delay in paying the entitlements.”