Thursday, 8th June 2023

Kolade Johnson’s bundle of dreams that policemen’s bullets shattered

By Kehinde Olatunji
06 April 2019   |   4:07 am
His aspiration was to be a celebrity. And he pursued the dream with a passion. Unfortunately, it was in death that Kolade Johnson...

Young Kolade Johnson. Photo/fivibe

His aspiration was to be a celebrity. And he pursued the dream with a passion. Unfortunately, it was in death that Kolade Johnson’s fame soared. Indeed, death is what has turned Johnson into a celebrity of a sort.

This was the picture painted by the family of Kolade Johnson (35) who was killed on Sunday by Inspector Olalekan Ogunyemi and Sergeant Godwin Orji who were both attached to the State’s Anti-Cultism Squad (SACS).

When The Guardian visited Johnson’s resident at 1, Beeco Street, Onipetesi, Mangoro, Lagos, it was a moment of sad memories for the family, as they recounted the plans the deceased had and would have achieved but, which death has terminated.

As comforters trooped into the living room, it was a sobering and dispiriting moment as sympathisers shared in the grief of the family.

Speaking with our correspondent, a niece to the deceased, Dolapo Lukman said Kolade Johnson got two shootings, one on his hip and the second on his male genital organ. While the first shot (on the hip), was quickly noticed, and was swiftly covered, the second one was not seen in good time, as blood was still gushing out, “people wondered where the blood was coming from, until it was spotted somewhere around his phallus… but it was too late. This was why he died.”

This account however contradicted Ogunyemi’s claim. According to him, he only fired one shot and it was directed to the sky.

“We heard a distress call that we should move to Mangoro. So, on getting there, we saw a group of guys smoking Indian hemp. We thought they’re cultists, so, the goal was to effect an arrest.

“Suddenly, they mobbed us- my boys and I, we then devised a mean to escape, so, I fired up. I didn’t know how it got to meet the guy in question that was shot dead, I don’t know. I only fired one up”, he said.

Meanwhile, eyewitnesses have claimed that Ogunyemi’s version was false, they wondered how a bullet that was sky-bound touched or killed the victim.

The death of Johnson makes it the fourth reported extra-judicial killings by the police in Lagos State in the month of March alone.

It began on March 2 with some trigger-happy police officers shooting a bus driver dead in Mosan, Ayobo area of Lagos for allegedly refusing to part with money.

Two weeks after, a teenage girl was killed by a stray bullet in a shootout between policemen and some cultists in Ikorodu, while on March 25, an Okada rider was shot dead in Kilo, Surulere area of Lagos.

The victim, identified as Ademola Moshood, was a few blocks away from his house, when he was shot by an officer attached to Soloki Police Station, Surulere.

In his ‘To-do-list’ found under his pillow by his niece, Dolapo and shown to our correspondent, the deceased, though a graduate of Business Administration of the University of Benin loved music, had plans to own a record label, movie production, dog farm, pure water factory, transportation business and many more. The family was pained that he couldn’t achieve his dreams.

Edwin John, a friend of Johnson, the quote, “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother,” came to bear as he fought tears narrating his relationship with the deceased.
According to him, the duo grew up and shared things together, “That very day he was killed, I received a call at about10: 00 pm from a stranger. He said ‘Klo’s brother, where are you? (Kolade is popularly known as Klo by his friends) When I asked who the person was, he dropped the call. At about 11:00 pm, another number called and said we are going to Ikeja now. I didn’t understand what was happening until my cousin, Sandra called me and said ‘I heard they shot Klo’, I asked if it was Kolade, she said Yes. I dropped the call. Again, somebody called from the United States that he saw on Facebook that Kolade was killed. That was when it began to dawn on me but was still hoping that it wasn’t true.

“The following day which was April 1, I switched on my Television, it was until when his name was mentioned in full that I concluded he was the one. What I want right now is justice. If it will be granted I will be happy and this is the way I want the justice. The man who shot him should be brought forward, and a soldier or police should pull the trigger at his first son in his presence. I believe if he sees such, others will learn.

“He was chasing a dream to be world famous before SACS ended his dream. He was chasing to be a celebrity; look at the way the nation is celebrating him. I don’t know how Nigerians will see this, but I know in my own heart that this is a memory that cannot be erased. I wish I love tattoo I would write something about him on me.”

Also, Johnson’s brother, Pastor Bolade Awakan, expressed optimism that justice would be served for his brother. He was relieved of how Nigerians rose up to fight for the cause of the death of his brother. According to him, when Kolade’s death was announced he felt it would go away without justice.

“When I saw my brother in the pool of his blood, I was just lamenting, thinking it would go away and I was saying ‘who would fight for us.’ But by the time people started coming out to condemn the killing, I felt great joy within my soul. I felt relieved in my spirit that the death of my brother would make a great liberation to many youths who had been killed by trigger-happy policemen. I believe by this, there will be liberation. Every glorious child will never die a sudden death in Nigeria again.”

Mrs. Toluwani Lukman, Johnson’s elder sister who was with the deceased before he went out to watch a televised live-match between two English premier football teams-Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspurs.

“He lived with me, we just finished eating when he went out to watch the match. It wasn’t up to one hour when somebody rushed to the house that Kolade has been shot. I didn’t believe it. When I got there, he has been rushed to the general hospital. When I got there I met his corpse.

“We had plans together. In fact, this week, we had an appointment to attend to something on his career. I still cannot believe he is gone. It is painful that Kolade didn’t live to achieve his dreams. Justice must be served. Not only for Kolade but also for all the youths in the country. Enough is enough of extra-judicial killings in this country.”

Also, Aderemi Abiodun who was a childhood friend of the deceased, said: “we have been friend since 2001. I lived with his family. He is a good person. He loved cooking. The news of his death came to me as a shock. I cannot believe that he is gone, so soon!

On her part, the mother of the deceased, Mrs. Olufunke Odebiyi said: “I cannot forget Kolade, he was very good to me and obedient. He is incomparable because he was very nice to me. I know that I have suffered a great loss. When I received the news of his death, I didn’t believe it. I spoke with him the previous night around 10:00 pm. Every Sunday I usually call my children when I get to church but this last Sunday, I didn’t know what happened that I didn’t even hold my phone and my phone was switched off throughout the day. So, it was early on Monday morning I heard the bad news.

“Everything is in God’s hand, I cannot move on by myself unless God help me. I want justice. Again for the past ten years I retired from Lagos State printing corporation I haven’t received a dime as pension.”

She advised that the Nigerian Police Force should undergo regular trainings to enable them carry out their duties professionally. “Police officers need serious training on how to make use of guns. Many of them have turned the weapon into toy. Sometimes, you see many of them drunk with guns in their hands. This ought not to be.”