Gafar Ajibola, was running away from policemen during a raid when the he jumped into the Ogun River in Oniyanrin, Abeokuta for safety but drowned.
Vanguard gathered that the 31-year-old was washing his clothes at the bank of the river, when he reportedly heard gunshots from policemen, who were allegedly raiding the community. Out of fear, he jumped into the river.
It was gathered that some policemen from the state command stormed Oniyanrin community close to Agbeloba in Abeokuta, in the early hours of Saturday, to raid some criminal hideouts.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, who confirmed the incident, explained that the policemen were carrying out their constitutional duties, chasing hoodlums in the area and not the deceased.
Oyeyemi, however, said investigation had been launched to unravel the culpability or otherwise of the policemen that carried out the assignment, saying they were just on routine operational duty of providing residents adequate security.
He said: “The information I got is to the effect that policemen had gone to raid criminals’ hideouts. There are places around that area known for harbouring criminals. So police usually go there to raid.
“Some people were arrested and after investigation, they were released. It is surprising that somebody jumped into the river when the police were performing their duties in the area.
“The case is under investigation, but police were in that place to ensure safety of lives and properties. The Police Commissioner, Ahmed Iliyasu, has ordered an investigation into the matter.
“I am assuring you, if police officers are found culpable, the law will take its course. Police are there basically to carry out their duties.”
When Vanguard visited the family house of the deceased, the family were in grief.
Speaking with newsmen at the scene of the incident, a man who claimed to be an uncle to the deceased, but refused to mention his name, said: “It was true that he went to the river to wash his clothes, but the sporadic shooting by policemen made him jump into the river.
“Since Saturday, we have been searching for him, before we found his body today (yesterday). We want justice because. If we fail to take legal steps, it will be very bad. We are going to take legal step against the police for this action.”