Four Special Anti-Robbery Squad personnel have been arrested for killing two suspected phone thieves in Lagos.
While reacting to PUNCH Metro’s report on the incident, the Lagos State Police Command said in a statement on Wednesday that the four policemen would be charged for murder.
PUNCH Metro had reported that a video posted on the social media showed the moment the SARS operatives shot dead the two disarmed suspected phone thieves.
According to the report, the video showed the two suspects handcuffed to each other as an officer approached with a third suspect.
The man filming the scene was heard identifying the suspects as he gloated over their arrest.
“You go collect, you go collect.” He said in Pidgin English as he filmed the suspects, adding that they had a gun. There was a sudden gunshot.
The third suspect was shown on the floor of a yellow minibus that appeared to have been hired for the police operation.
A statement by the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Bala Elkana, confirmed the video.
According to him, the action of the cop is against the code of professional conduct and laws guiding how suspects in custody should be treated.
He identified the policemen as Inspector Fabiyi Omomayara, Sergeant Olaniyi Solomon, Sergeant Solomon Sunday and Corporal Aliyu Mukaila, all attached to the Iba Division’s patrol team.
Elkana stated that the incident happened on August 19 around 3pm when the Iba Police Station received a distress call from one Anugu Valentine of No. 250 Agege Motor Road, Mushin, that he was attacked by armed men numbering about four, who were on two motorcycles, at the Ipayi area, Iba, who dispossessed him of one iPhone Max valued at N450,000.
“Acting on the information, the Divisional Police Officer, Iba, promptly deployed the divisional patrol team in the scene. Two of the armed robbers were arrested, while two others escaped. Two locally-made pistols with six life cartridges and five expended cartridges were recovered from them. The gang is said to be notorious for a series of robberies in Iba and environs.
“It was a well-celebrated operation by the team as the suspects were gallantly arrested. The team, however, went extreme by killing the suspects, who were already in custody instead of taking them to the police station and allowing the normal process of investigation and prosecution to be initiated as stipulated in procedural laws.
“That act of extrajudicial killing falls short of the police professional standards and cannot be condoned by the command. The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Zubairu Muazu, has ordered a thorough investigation into the incident.”
Elkana added that the cops were being subjected to internal disciplinary proceedings, known as orderly room trial, and if found culpable, they would be dismissed from the force and handed over to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Yaba, for prosecution in the conventional court.
He assured members of the public that the command would update them on the outcome of the investigation and possible trial of the suspected killer cops.