Bayelsa woman, killed by police while buying things in the market, tells her story
Ms. Ebinipere Onojamadu, a Nigerian woman, talks about how she was killed by the cops in this PUNCH interview.
Ms Ebinipere Onojamadu is one of the shooting victims reported by a group of police officers patrolling the Tombia Market in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on November 24, 2020. She tells DANIEL IGONI about her ordeal.
Such as Did the police run you down?
On that day, I was with several visitors at the house when I was told that a member of my church had given birth to a baby by caesarean section. So, I decided to go to the market to buy something for cooking and bring him. One of my friends accompanied me to the Edepi-Etegve rotunda market (popularly called Tombia). We were still shopping at the bridge when we heard shots.
What time did you hear the shots?
It was about 18:00. Then my friend beat me up and told me to leave the market because of the shots. So when we were about to leave, I tried to turn around, but I couldn’t. I tried to lift my leg, but I couldn’t. She asked me why I couldn’t turn around thinking I was making fun of her. But I told her that it was serious, that I could not turn around. While he was trying to drag me, I fell to the ground. When I fell, I realized that something had happened to me. The next thing we saw was that my bone had already come out and blood was also dripping from my leg. I started screaming for help, people came and tried to lift me. When they tried to load me into a “keke” (tricycle), I saw a police officer who was shooting at me and said, “You just shot me.” He looked at me and left without a word. But I could not find out his name and number. One of the people who came to my aid also told this man (the policeman) that he had shot at me, but that (the policeman) shrugged his shoulders. I told the cops that God will judge them all. They were driving into the city because they were heading for Tombia Amassoma Road. But I don’t know where they came from.
What happened next?
So when they put me on the tricycle, I told the motorcyclist to chase the police van, but he said the traffic was heavy. But I still encouraged him to move and chase them, and in the end he agreed and we went looking for them. They (the cops) parked on the bridge over the bridge that sells sweet potatoes. When we arrived, I was able to write the car number: “TERRORPOL NPF 8643C”; it was a white Hilux van. Someone helped me with a marker and I wrote it on a piece of paper.
How did you get to the hospital?
I told the tricycle driver to take me to the hospital. My friend was crying, but I told her not to worry. Someone who knew me in the market rushed to my house to tell my neighbors that my husband was not around. I also called my little brother and they all came to my hospital. Later my husband also came.
Have you filed an official accident report?
The police commissioner was called, he came to the hospital and asked me what happened. I told everything that happened to him. He also asked me if I could get information about the police officers, and I answered “Yes”.
What else did he do?
He left. But my husband also called some of the reporters and they arrived the next morning. I told them what happened to them. Another victim, a girl, was taken to the same hospital, but I don’t know where the others were taken.
Have the bullets been removed from your leg?
Bullets from my leg were not removed. The bullet pierced my leg and exited the other side.
Did the police officers involved in the incident express concern after you were hospitalized?
They arrived on Monday morning (November 30, 2020).
What about the cop who shot you?
They said he was arrested, but I don’t know if that’s true. KP and his team also visited the marketplace filming location and said they came to take charge and take care of us during the shooting incident. But to be honest, they did nothing with food. We took care of ourselves.
What do you do for a living?
I’m a restaurateur. I cook food for weddings and other events, and bake cakes. I have a three-year-old girl, and my other children go to school. I can’t work now. On Saturday (November 26, 2020) I had a job but was unable to complete it due to an accident. I also have to prepare a wedding for December 12, 2020, but I won’t be able to do anything because of my condition.
What are you going to do in the event of an accident when you are discharged from the hospital?
If they do not take responsibility, they will indemnify. I’ll let my lawyer know.
What is your advice to the police authorities?
The police authorities must warn their people. You can’t walk freely in this country. As a police officer, you shouldn’t throw bullets at the market even if you want to clear the road, because we go there for our daily bread. A policeman came and fired bullets to kill innocent people. If the bullet hadn’t hit my leg, who knows, it might have killed some people, because it’s like I’m in a vacuum for others. There were people behind me. There was a woman who had four bullets in her body. One of the injured is a student helping his mother sell periwinkle to teach her at school. Hence, the Nigerian police authorities must warn their people. The policeman who shot us must be held accountable.
Source: The PUNCH