I can’t afford a lawyer but I want justice done for my 17 year old son killed by police – Unemployed woman from Lagos


Mrs Bose Oguntua, 42, whose 17-year-old son, Promise, was reportedly shot dead by police on December 13, 2021 in Okoya Street, Ifelodun Local Council Development Area, Lagos State, tells GODFREY GEORGE of her mourning and search for justice

Please tell us about yourself.

My name is Bose Oguntua. I am from Ondo State. I have 42 years old. I am unemployed at the moment. I am the mother of Promise, who was shot dead by police on Monday December 13th. He was 17 years old. He was in generator repairs. He didn’t go to high school. He stopped at sixth grade and said he wanted to learn a trade. It was what he was doing until this thing happened.

What really happened that day that led to his death?

I think there was a fight in the neighborhood and men in uniform were invited. Before we knew what was going on, they waved him over, but he was backing up, but he didn’t run away. He kept asking them, “What have I done?” They told him to stay there and he did. He was walking home and was told to stop there. He did not know why he had been chosen to be questioned by the police. One policeman in particular has just shot him twice in the legs. A woman told me that one of the policemen asked the policeman who shot her why he didn’t just ‘kill him’ immediately. It shows the level of meanness of these people. They said the cop followed a security team to the area, which included soldiers from Operation MESA.

Where were you at the time and who told you about the incident?

I was with my husband in Badagry when my younger sister called me to tell me that a police officer had shot my son. I started to scream and cry. I don’t know what they said he did to them. They just shot the young boy and ran away. She told me that she was in dire need of money and I sent them money for her treatment. I had to run and borrow 15,000 N which I sent. A few minutes later, she called me to inform me that he had died from a hemorrhage. I didn’t believe her at first until I heard it from another person. How can a boy so full of life die like this? He had no problem with them. He didn’t fight. I am always surprised at the way he died. It’s so sad. I haven’t recovered from the shock yet.

What did you do for the case?

We buried him the same day. We were forbidden to cry, but when I got home I cried. I couldn’t hold it. Every day when I wake up and remember that my son is dead and his killer roams the streets freely, the pain returns with more intensity. It was a sad day.

How does the father take the matter?

I told him. When he found out, he was so devastated. Every day, he too cries.

Are you planning to sue the police?

Where is the money we would use to fight the police? We are very poor people who struggle to eat every day. I don’t even have the money to pay for a lawyer. That is why I am begging the government to come to our aid and do us justice for our son. I have no power to fight the government.

Since this happened, has anyone from the Lagos State Government come to offer their condolences to your family?

I saw nobody. No one came to see me. Even on the day of his burial, I continued to search to see if I would see any of them, but not even a soul reached out to me. It’s so sad, God knows.

What do you expect from the Lagos State government?

I want the government to help us get justice. Someone killed my son. Eyewitnesses confirmed that it was a policeman, so they should retrieve him and bring him to justice. He must face the consequences of his crime. Two bullets were extracted from his leg where he was hit, so they can’t tell we’re lying. They should track him down and tell us who fired those bullets. The person should come and tell me what my 17 year old son did to him.

Would you say your son was a troublesome person?

To be honest, my son was not a stubborn boy but he had his own mind. Let me say he had a strong will. He knew what he wanted and got down to it. But to say he was the type to look for trouble was something he wouldn’t do. Everyone in his workplace knew him as a calm person until he was provoked. Out of my five children – two boys and three girls – this was a really special child.

How does the family deal with this loss?

He brought home money every time he worked. At a young age, he was already in charge. The little money he earned from his work, he always included us in his plan. Now that he’s dead, we’re only looking at God. God himself will judge his murderer, I’m sure.

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