Abdulateef Olawepo, a friend of Sulayman Mubarak, one of the victims of the February 10 bullion van robbery in Idi-Ape, Ibadan, Oyo State, has rebuffed police claims that the deceased was an “onlooker” in the moment he got hit by robbers’ bullet.
Speaking about the incident, the Oyo State Police had said: “Further to the media chat at the scene of crime. Today Thursday 10th February, 2022 at about 1345hrs, a group of masked armed robbers about Ten (10) in numbers trailed, targeted and attacked a bullion van around traffic light area, Idi-Ape junction Agodi, Ibadan…
“Consequently, a civilian onlooker was hit by stray bullet and died at the scene while two Police officers later died in the hospital as a result of gunshot injuries sustained. Four (4) others including Two (2) Police officers are responding to treatment.”
However, in an interview with The Punch, Olawepo said Mubarak’s family and friends were devastated when they heard the remarks made by the police on the circumstances surrounding the father of three’s death.
“He had been driving and was caught in the traffic before the armed robbers struck. His car was trapped in the traffic and there was no chance to escape.
“He was right there in his car when the bullet hit him. We were devastated to hear police refer to him as an onlooker. His death is very painful; describing him as an onlooker makes it more devastating.
“He was a very responsible family man and his child was there in the car with him when the incident happened. How could any reasonable person describe him as an onlooker? Was the robbery incident a movie or what?” Olawepo stated.
Ngozi Onadeko, Oyo State Police Commissioner, had in a statement on Thursday, described the late University of Ibadan graduate as an onlooker.
However, the 37-year-old biomedical scientist was returning from Ikire in Osun State, where he had gone to pick his two-year-old son from his parents when the incident happened.
“He was a Muslim and a very good one for that matter. We want it to be on record that he was not an onlooker contrary to how the police described him and it was reported by journalists.
“He was caught up in the unfortunate incident and the bullet went straight to kill him. He was shot in the head,” Olawepo added.
The deceased’s friend also complained about the state of robberies in the ancient city in recent times, requesting for something to be done so as to prevent a reoccurrence.
He added that the deceased’s two-year-old son, who was in the car with his father when he got shot, is still traumatised by the incident and has refused to eat.
Before his death, the late Mubarak was the Personal Assistant to INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner in Osun State.
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