By Precious Igbonwelundu
The Inspector General of Police (IG) Mohammed Adamu yesterday disbanded the Zonal Intervention Squad (ZIS) following the death of Remo Stars Football Club player Kazeem Tiamiyu.
ZIS is a special unit under the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Zone II that operate 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.
The Nation reports that hundreds of Sagamu residents including women and children on Monday flooded the streets to protest Tiamiyu’s death and police harassment, extortion an exercise that left at least five persons feared killed.
According to Ogunyonwo, the IG ordered that the ZIS’ office in Ogun be taken over by the Police Command, adding that the team responsible has been recommended for dismissal.
The DIG said the officers were on illegal duty and did not obtain clearance from the police formation in Sagamu before the operation.
He said that the police would ensure 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 disclosed that the footballer was frequently harassed by policemen.
She said a recent one before Saturday’s happened two-weeks-ago where they attempted to arrest him.
“Two weeks before his death, my son complained that operatives of SARS usually surround 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. I know the boss because during Gbenga Daniel’s tenure, I served all policemen in the state souvenirs whenever they had meetings. So, he told them to leave my son alone and they did.
“They told me they were sorry and I told them they should be sorry for themselves.
“He usually wore his club’s jersey. He cherished the jersey more than any other cloth. I washed his jerseys almost everyday and his boots too. He had up to 15 pairs of boots. “Whenever he wears a white jersey, he would match it with a white pair of socks. His jersey and socks always match. He was in one of his jerseys that Saturday when the incident happened.
“He woke up that Saturday morning and 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.
In his remarks, Abiodun appealed to the people to eschew violence so that they would not give criminals opportunity to perpetrate their acts.
He promised to use every instrument of government available to unearth the circumstances surrounding the killing and the crisis caused in the town.
“We will use every means possible, not only to ensure that justice is served, but that it is seen to have been served. We’ll ensure that this will be the last of such avoidable deaths in the hands of security officers in our state,” he said.
In the governor’s entourage were the Commissioner of Police, Kenneth Ebrimson and the Director, State Security Services, Mr David Tuska.