IG: Policemen on illegal duty ‘killed’ footballer Tiamiyu

AS a fallout of the circumstances surrounding the death of Remo Stars Football Club player Kazeem Tiamiyu, and the crisis that it triggered, the Inspector General of Police (IG) Mohammed Adamu on Tuesday disbanded the Zonal Intervention Squad (ZIS).

ZIS is a special unit under the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Zone II that operates mostly around border communities of Lagos and Ogun states.

The unit’s demobilisation was announced by Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Peter Ogunyonwo who accompanied the state governor Dapo Abiodun to commiserate with the family of the deceased footballer.

Tiamiyu was killed on Saturday while the ZIS operatives who illegally arrested him were taking him to Abeokuta, the state capital.

Until his death, Tiamiyu, 25, was the Assistant Captain of his club and was loved by football fans in the state.

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Hundreds of Sagamu residents on Monday flooded the streets to protest Tiamiyu’s death and alleged police harassment and extortion, an exercise in which five persons were feared killed.

Ogunyonwo said the IG ordered that the ZIS’ office in Ogun be taken over by the police command, adding that the team responsible be recommended for dismissal.

The DIG said the officers were on illegal duty and did not get clearance for the operation. He said that there would be more internal reforms in order to purge out unprofessional and “trigger-happy elements.”

Debunking allegations by the police that her son was an internet fraudster, Tiamiyu’s mother said that the footballer was frequently harassed by policemen.

She said, “Two weeks before his death, my son complained that operatives of SARS usually surrounded his car. In fact, he called his father on many of these occasions.

“There was a certain day that his elder brother’s wife was delivered of a baby and he was at the hospital.

“Just as he went in, I was called that SARS operatives had surrounded his car. I rose and went there and on getting there, I met them.

“I called one of their bosses immediately. So, he told them to leave my son alone and they did.

“He was in one of his jerseys that Saturday when the incident happened.

“He said he wanted to get to his manager’s place. After he left, I called him a few minutes past 11am to tell that him his food was ready.

“The person with him said he stepped down from his vehicle to buy something and before he came back, there were SARS operatives seated in his car.

“They took his phone and interrogated him. He told them he was a footballer but he was whisked to Abeokuta in their vehicle during which the incident happened,” she said.

Governor Abiodun assured Tiamiyu’s parents that everything would be done to find out how their son died.

By Precious Igbonwelundu, The Nation.

19th June 2024
Nigerian Pantagraph