The Lagos State Police Command has dismissed allegations that an officer of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) killed a Lagos cleaner who was hit by a stray bullet on Monday, July 15, 2019.
Residents of Ajisegiri Street, in the Ilupeju area of Lagos State, alleged that the cleaner, simply identified as Francis, was killed by a SARS team chasing a group of hemp smokers.
Images of Francis' corpse as well as videos of residents expressing anger at his death have been posted on social media, sparking recalls of similar extra-judicial killings committed by officers in the past.
However, the spokesperson of the Lagos State Police Command, Bala Elkana, said the deceased was instead killed by a cult gang that ambushed officers.
According to him, SARS operatives were led to the area by a notorious gang leader, Ikechukwu Monye, to retrieve his gang's arms. However, he said the officers were ambushed by other gang members whose sporadic shooting led to Francis' death.
"The whole area is cordoned with a view of apprehending the members of the gang and bring them to justice.
"Ilupeju has experienced violent attacks between members of Aiye and Eiye confraternities who equally engaged in heinous crimes such as armed robbery, rape and murder," he said.
Elkana said the group in question is responsible for a series of robberies within Ilupeju and environs.
"They have been on the wanted list of the Police for murder of six persons during three robbery operations that they carried out," he disclosed.
Elkana urged members of the public to remain calm as officers have intensified patrols and surveillance in the affected areas, vowing to bring an end to the activities of the criminal gang.
He also extended the command's 'heartfelt condolences' to the family of the deceased and assured them that justice will prevail.