The fatal night-time crash that involved a budding Nigerian rap artist named Olaitan Olanipekun, famously known as “Da Grin,” was caused by the police, sources and residents in Mushin say. Da Grin’s death is the latest casualty, in a long running battle between terrified residents, and a police force many believe that is out of control.
Policemen at the Alakara Police Command in the Mushin area of Lagos State are notorious for illegal raiding, bribery, and even escapades of what some call ‘murder at night.’ Such is the wary view of some residents in the Mushin area that have come forward in a series of interviews with a SaharaReporters correspondent. The death of Da Grin, for many, may well be ‘the tipping point.’
Local residents in the Mushin area have said, repeatedly, that they are ‘very familiar’ with the activities of policemen at the Alakara Police Station. Many have stepped forward for this story since the death of Da Grin, and have shared exclusively with our correspondent a series of atrocities committed before, and since, by the men invovled. The list of questionable, illegal, even shocking events, is such that, the policemen up to now, always get away with, residents have told us. There is little to no recourse. The acts are carried out continuously residents say, and with impunity.
From a history recounted by witnesses, the circumstances, which led to the death of Da Grin, is a continuation of a disturbing pattern by police. It began following a horrific auto crash on a local road.
The eyewitnesses, who said they were first to reach the scene of the road crash to assist, did so without first knowing who the victim was. It was a messy, even a bloody scene, they said. While approaching the scene, the sources said, policemen actually covered- up their role in the accident, while creating an artificial after-scene for the world to see later.
“I was there that night, and we did not even know at first that it was anyone (famous) like that. We were only helping to remove his body and to rescue him,” said a young witness, a man, who stepped forward and agreed to speak with a SaharaReporters correspondent on the condition of anonymity.
“What actually happened that night was that the policemen had stopped the cement truck at the middle of road, and of course, they could only be asking for a bribe.
“Unfortunately, the truck had no rear light, (of any kind,) and so the oncoming car was unaware of any vehicle ahead. It just rammed head on, into it from the back.
“It rammed into the truck hard without holding the brakes at all, and that is because the truck in its front, had no light to show anything was there.
“That period, there was a crater around that place and they just repaired it after then.
“So after we removed the body, we realized it was Da Grin, and he was groaning. They asked the truck driver to move forward and park out off of the road. They then moved Da Grin’s car afterwards so it would then look like he went to hit the truck where it parked.
“We were not thinking about all these as an attempt to change the story. We were only concerned about helping the victim of an accident, and by when they finished their artificial story, the world was only waiting for Da Grin’s recovery. But news broke later that he had died at the hospital.
“What made their story work was that the car did not hold its breaks, so there was no sign of screeching on the ground. Otherwise, the marks of friction from the tyres would be in the spot where it was removed, before parking it, and rearranging the scene.
“They did everything very fast, and by morning, they were no longer the cause of the accident.) Just like on Tuesday night, that they scared everyone away, and washed the blood stains of their victim within a brief period,” the young man continued.
“Of course, they caused the accident that killed Da Grin. And that is how they commit so much atrocities here in Mushin that the public will not know about, or what the truth is.
“We live here and we see them live, every time,” he added.
The residents said it was high time the authorities checked excesses in atrocities of men at the Alakara Police Station.
Another killing allegedly by policemen at the Alakara Police Station occurred on Tuesday night of this week, further triggering their grief, and provoked them to expose that police atrocity, and approach SaharaReporters. That killing, as well, was covered up say the sources, in order that residents in the community, and people outside, would not know of it.
On Tuesday night, the 22nd of July, the witnesses said policemen were mounting a checkpoint at the junction of their Station, known as Alakara Police Station. There, police allegedly fired a gunshot during what seemed like an argument, between the police, and a bus driver.
The witnesses said they had no idea what exactly transpired, but suggested it could only be an argument over a bribe, as the policemen are said to be known for in the area.
The bus drove forward and briskly pulled up. “All passengers rushed down from it, and the bus zoomed off with a desperate speed like someone trying to escape from the scene,” one witness who recounted the scene told our correspondent who later visited it.
“Everything happened fast and it made us curious because at the spot where the passengers all rushed down, it was unusual,” he continued.
Another resident near the scene of the incident who also shared the same story said, “It was around 9.30pm, and everything happened (right) before my very eyes.”
The resident said he was alerted at the sight of two men using a torchlight, only to see another person laying on the ground near them.
The driver of the bus immediately drove-off from the spot.
“I moved closer to see what was happening. The man was lying unconsciously, and was soaked with blood. He wore a sporting shirt branded, ‘Barcelona FC,’ a short pair of jeans, and a pair of sports footwear,” the witness described in his account.
“I do not know whether he was a passenger on the bus, or the bus conductor, but the people I met there looking at him with torchlight said, he was shot by the policemen.”
The witness said he immediately recalled that there was gunshot at the policemen’s checking point only few seconds before. Afterwards, the bus stopped and all the passengers rushed off from it.
“By when I would realize any more things, we saw some policemen coming around. They scared all of us away,” he continued.
The witness said he hid nearby, somewhere near his house, to see everything that happened as it unfolded before him.
“They saw the corpse, checked him, and saw he was dead, then they left.
“Four of them returned soon afterwards with their old Mitsubishi van, and they took the corpse into the back of it.
“They then pushed him in, folded him, and tucked his legs under the seat, so that no part of his body was showing outside. Then they drove back to their station and parked the car, facing its outside and its back which contained the victim’s body inside, so that no one saw what they did next.
“But I was sure he (the victim) had died,” he stated.
Another witness, who also resides within the area, had said that the policemen returned soon afterwards to the scene, and cleaned-up bloodstains from the spot.
“We were shocked, but we could not go to sleep, so we saw everything,” he said to a SaharaReporters correspondent.
“After they took the body away from the scene, three of them returned later but in mufti wears. One took a torchlight, the second had a bucket containing water, and the third man had a broom.
“Although it was drizzling that night, they took water from their own bucket, and swept off every stain of the victim’s blood so that nothing was left (behind) on the ground to suggest anything had happened there,” the second witness stated.
Another young man, who requested that he not to be named, said he also saw the policemen using their vans to carry the victim away.
“I know the van they used to carry the victim very well. It is the same that summersaulted sometime ago, when they went to do an illegal raid at the Empire hotel, which is not in their jurisdiction. One woman was said to have caused them trouble in the hotel that day and they had a terrible accident before getting to their Station.
“They managed to repair it later, and painted (over) it, but they did not bother to write their usual donor’s name, or their Station on it, after then,” the young man said.
After the Tuesday night’s killing, our correspondent noticed that the policemen had not resumed work at their checking point at time of filling this report. But residents said cynically that they are expected back soon, once they get over their last illegal killing.
But more curious is a revelation by the young witness in one of the frequent atrocities committed by men of the Alakara Police Station, which they covered-up almost successfully.
“What baffles me, but which also gives me great concern, is how they swiftly reconstruct the scenes and ‘sell out’ another version to claim innocence,” the young witness said.
“By now, I know that families of the man they killed on Tuesday night would have been given an artificial story that will be almost un-provable otherwise.
The Alakara policemen are described as very apt, and swift, in immediately ‘cleaning up’ their dirty business, leaving behind little, to no evidence, of their atrocities, several sources have told a SaharaReporters correspondent.
As things now stand, residents said they have combined fears for both the criminals and the Police. Yet for many who came forward in the reporting of this story, had declared that out of the two, their “fear of the Police is greater.”
sources SAHARA Reporters.