A 15-year old senior secondary school student who was allegedly hit by a police stray bullet on February 5, 2020 during a clash between police officers and protesting commercial motorcyclists, has testified before the Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for Victims of SARS-related abuses.
Mariam Shobukola who was in SSS 1 at the time told the panel that on February 5, 2020, the proprietor of the Delight International School, in Aboru, Iyana-Ipaja, where she attends, asked her to accompany the headmistress to go out and make a cash transfer at a POS shop in the area. She says, while waiting to collect the receipt after the transaction, she fell down and couldn’t remember what happened afterwards.
Mariam, who broke down in tears during her testimony, confirmed that she has undergone two surgeries and a physiotherapy since then and lost at least one academic session, as her mates are now in SSS 3. According to the victim who appears to have greatly improved after her gory ordeal says she still experiences pains in her stomach, head and legs, and cannot stand or walk for long.
The Chairperson of the eight-member panel, Retired Justice Doris Okuwobi, also admitted as evidence, the blood-stained uniform which the victim wore on that fateful day, which was tendered through her counsel, Bernard Onigah.
During cross examination, she also told police counsel, Joseph Ebhoseremen that she didn’t witness any fighting in the area at the material time.
Another witness, Gbola Orefuyi who is a CDA chairman in Aboru, said he stood by the family throughout the period, and that a colostomy (a major surgery that brings out one end of the large intestine through the abdominal wall) was performed on Miss Shobukola at the Lagos State Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, while she had to stool and urinate inside an attached bag for about nine months because her large intestine was affected.
He revealed during cross examination that the Lagos State Government assisted the family with about N1.9 million to foot part of the medical expenses, and that the Nigeria Police Force offered the sum of N20,000, which the family rejected.
The stray bullet pierced the stomach of the teenager and ruptured her bladder, when she was caught up in an ensuing commotion after scores of commercial motorcyclists began agitating against the high handedness of police officers enforcing the Lagos State Traffic law in Aboru.
After she was hit, Mariam, was rushed to Peak Health Hospital and then taken to the General Hospital, Orile Agege, before she was transferred to LASUTH.
The family is seeking a N10 million naira compensation from the panel. Their petition is adjourned to June 15, while the panel ordered that summons be served on one Dr Fatai Balogun, a consultant at LASUTH, while the victim’s father, Mukaila Shobukola is also billed to testify at the next date.