FCT Minister, Mohammed Musa Bello
According to a report by SaharaReporters, the many residents of Kuchingoro community located along Airport Road in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has accused Ministerial Taskforce on City Sanitation of lying after killing two unarmed persons in the community.
SaharaReporters on Wednesday reported how gun-wielding policemen and soldiers attached to the task force opened fire on protesting shop owners and residents during the demolition of illegal structures in the area.
The incident led to the death of two persons and left three others with gunshots wounds.
One of those killed was said to have been beaten to death by the personnel of the task force.
But in an attempt by the task force to change the narrative and cover up their atrocities, the Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to FCT Minister, Ikharo Attah in a statement said the team was attacked by hoodlums with stones, cutlasses and other dangerous weapons.
He said five officers of the team sustained injuries in the process.
The statement read in part, "Several members of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) Taskforce on Wednesday escaped death after they were attacked by hoodlums with stones, cutlasses and other dangerous weapons at Kuchingoro community.
"While 5 officers of the Taskforce were, however, not lucky, sustaining various degrees of injury, 10 suspects were arrested and handed over to the police for investigation and prosecution.
"We came here to remove illegal structures that have painted Airport Road in a bad light, we were clearing the roadsides of traders, Okada riders, all of a sudden, some hoodlums appeared and started throwing stones.
"The Taskforce team was in the community in continuation of its ongoing massive clean-up and the clampdown on Okada riders violating traffic rules along the Lugbe-Airport Road axis.”
But the residents who spoke to SaharaReporters described the narrative by the task force as untrue. They said no officer was injured during the exercise as claimed by the task force.
A resident who identified himself as Saidu said, "It is quite unfortunate that these people can deny that they killed two persons. They fired live bullets at the protesters and two persons died on the spot. They also took the bodies away.
"At the spot where they shot the two people, we saw police covering the trace of blood on the ground with sand.
"They even threatened to shoot us if we moved close to them. The policemen used sticks to beat one of the protesters to death. Everything they said in that statement was a lie. They even carried the motorbike of one of those who sustained gunshots injuries.”
Another resident, Lateef Adegbite, in his own account of the incident, said, "That is a blatant lie, the police are not saying the truth. They killed these young men. One of them was on a visit to his brother. He came from Lugbe and he was outside when the demolition was going on and they shot him.”
A Gbagyi woman whose son was also shot also narrated her experience, saying she sent his son on an errand to buy ice block but was told a few minutes later by neighbours that her son had been shot by the police.
She said her son was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre for treatment but he was rejected when doctors at the hospital saw the extent of his injuries.
She said her son was then taken to Wuse General Hospital.
The residents also accused the traditional ruler in the community of being silent and insensitive to their plight.
The traditional chief was said to have locked his palace and sneaked out when community youths went to inform him about the death of two young men.
SaharaReporters gathered that the Taskforce officials had a meeting with him some days before the incident where he was alleged to have been bribed and told not to oppose the demolition exercise.
Findings revealed that the village head has also ordered the stoppage of the activities of commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as (Okada) in the community.
Many residents described the directive as wicked and uncalled, adding that it would aggravate the transportation problems in the area.
Confirming the development to SaharaReporters, Chairman of the Motorcycle Riders Association in Kuchingoro, Abubakar Usman said the traditional chief in the community connived with Wuye Divisional Police officers to stop their operation.
He also confirmed that they would be burying one of their members who was shot dead by the police today (Friday).
Meanwhile, some residents have vowed to stage a protest to demand justice for the victims.