In my traditional background, tigers are well revered. They are considered animals with enormous strength, fearless. When the time to do battle comes, they never hide under any shade to invoke flimsy excuses, regardless of who the opponent may be. They roar, and then rise with astonishing rapidity to pounce.
On the contrary, the same cannot be said of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police Hakeem Odumosu who though thinks himself a Police Tiger, appears to find his strength only when hunting grasshoppers. He seems to find his strength only when peaceful protests are announced in Lagos, yet no day passes in Lagos without an incident that either leaves victims of crime in tears, in the pool of their own blood or sent to the mortuary.
Since becoming Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Hakeem Odumosu has literally made himself superior to the provisions of Nigeria’s Constitution, so much so that last year, like he has done this year also, he announced a ban on protests in Lagos, irrespective of whether or not such protests were peaceful.
A statement released by Hakeem Odumosu at the time is the most insulting and disrespectful statement I have ever read. Like this year, Odumosu questioned the humanity of an entire people.
Hear him in part:
“The command wishes to inform the general public that henceforth no protest or gathering or procession, under whatever guise, is permitted within Lagos State.”
Henceforth? Which constitution empowered Hakeem Odumosu to utter such an irresponsible remark? The arrogance in the quoted lines is chilling and reeks of lawlessness. Odumosu sounded like an officer in a police state. The implication of having extremely lawless people like Odumosu in places of authority under a constitutional democracy is that their stay in office poses a serious danger to democracy and the fundamental rights of citizens, so that even when they grudgingly leave office, the effect of their lawlessness is never erased so easily.
The only time one remembers that Odumosu is the Lagos State Commissioner of Police is when peaceful protests are announced, like the upcoming #EndSARS Memorial. As usual, I expect Odumosu to empty all police barracks in Lagos State and post them to the tollgate beginning from Monday, October 18, 2021; not just to frustrate the protests but to also attack the protesters and possibly kill them for exercising their fundamental human rights.
In February of 2021, when Nigerians resisted an attempt by the Lagos State Government to re-open the Lekki Tollgate [a well-known crime scene] for business, Hakeem Odumosu relocated the Lagos State Police Command to the Lekki Tollgate simply to face peaceful protesters, people without arms of any kind except placards! It was by all standards the highest exhibition of cowardice. A tragic tale of a police commissioner who only comes alive when peaceful protests are announced.
The police had already besieged the toll plaza as early as Tuesday, February 9 for a protest that was billed to hold on Saturday, February 13, 2021! They even harassed me on Friday afternoon for passing there.
Hakeem Odumosu’s appearances in protest venues like the #RevolutionNow peaceful protest of August 5, 2019; #RevolutionNow protest of August 5, 2020; #IndependenceDayProtest of October 1, 2020; #OccupyTollGateProtest of February 13, 2021, etc, are not replicated when the police are in pursuit of actual criminals. Odumosu does not appear in battlefields, except he is very sure that it is a peaceful protest where he will not be harmed.
The numerous atrocities and the utter violation of fundamental human rights committed so far by CP Hakeem Odumosu should never be forgotten.
His sycophancy as he strives to please his oppressive masters has resulted to the termination of several lives, particularly during peaceful protests. Just for a single example, the avoidable killing of Jumoke Oyeleke in Ojota on July 3 whilst self-determination activists were carrying out a peaceful rally should never be forgotten by Lagosians, Nigerians and indeed the entire world.
It must be recalled that prior to their planned rally in Lagos slated to hold on July 3, 2021, the Yoruba Nation activists had carried out very successful and peaceful rallies in other South-West states with no violence of any kind recorded during their demonstrations in Oyo, Ekiti, Ogun, Osun and Ondo. However, Odumosu went haywire in the instant that the Yoruba Nation activists announced their intention to round off their tour in Lagos. He released threats after threats, insisting that rallies, peaceful or not, were and are still not allowed in Lagos State! However, the lawless Odumosu did not make reference to any extant constitution that empowered him to “ban” all kinds of protests, rallies and processions.
After the organisers insisted on proceeding with their planned peaceful rally, Odumosu unleashed armed policemen on the unarmed demonstrators which led to the death of Jumoke Oyeleke.
But Odumosu and his goons expectedly denied that their bullet killed Jumoke, despite the fact that none of the protesters was armed at the rally except police officers. However, their dubious denial was dismissed by the victim’s autopsy report, which reads in part:
“Haemopericardium, disruption of the heart and lungs and missile injury to the chest.”
If other medical terms in those lines appear too confusing to non-medical people, “missile injury to the chest” obviously shouldn’t.
That was how young Jumoke Oyeleke lost her life to a police bullet because of the overzealousness and sycophancy of Hakeem Odumosu who must be seen to please his masters at all costs, even if doing so requires that all Lagos residents die.
How police should be armed with live bullets to confront people with placards in a democracy is puzzling, to put it mildly. Is killing the direct intention, dear Mr Odumosu?
Odumosu and his colleagues often claim that protests, if allowed, are “hijacked by hoodlums.” This claim is not only laughable, it is also an indictment on the police whose primary responsibility is to give maximum protection to peaceful protesters to ensure such protests are not infiltrated by the supposed “hoodlums.” But no, they attack, fire teargas and shoot live bullets at unarmed people exercising their fundamental human rights.
History never forgets, and so the crimes that Hakeem Odumosu presently commits in Lagos State against humanity and his violation of the fundamental human rights of Lagosians are quietly being recorded in the world’s history archives. And when he leaves that office as it is expected of him in a short time from now, he’ll be sinking into oblivion and with the record of being one of the worst commissioners of police to ever serve in Lagos State.
Being a police officer who was apparently trained to face only peaceful protesters, his time to shine is here again, especially with the upcoming #EndSARS Memorial planned to hold at the Lekki Tollgate. Odumosu and his men are going to iron their uniforms, polish their boots, put on their camouflage uniforms, load their rifles to capacity with spare bullets before heading straight to the tollgate to face their favourite victims.
Mr Hakeem Odumosu, for once in your career, start learning to do your job professionally and quit being a political sycophant and a lawless bully against human rights defenders.
Author, essayist, polemicist, citizen journalist, permanent enemy of oppressors