By TOPE ADEBOBOYE
Inspector Jamiu Adekoya, the gallant police officer honoured by The Sun Publishing Limited on Saturday night, is yet to come to terms with his new status as a multi-millionaire. About N9 million was spontaneously raised for the courageous cop by The Sun Publishing Limited at The Sun Awards which held at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island on Saturday. Adekoya was the brave Inspector that led a Rapid Response Squad (RRS) patrol team attacked by daredevil robbers in Lagos on September 12, last year.
The robbers killed two of his colleagues during the incident at Ogba area of the metropolis. Adekoya was severally shot and badly wounded, but even as he lay dying, he managed to unleash a volley of bullets into the head of the retreating gang leader. The bandit died on the spot.
Sixteen bullets were later removed from Adekoya’s abdomen, even as four are still lodged in his system. The police officer, who hails from Ayedun in Oke Ero Local Government area of Kwara State, was honoured with the Nigerian Hero Award at the glamorous event attended by an impressive array of politicians and political leaders, captains of industry, media executives, Nollywood stars and scores of other celebrities. These days, Adekoya’s excitement is palpable. But you can hardly blame him.
On Saturday evening, he had arrived at the venue of The Sun awards as an ordinary police officer waiting to be presented with a certificate at the event. Minutes later, he was the recipient of tons of cash by an appreciative populace, turning him into the newest multi-millionaire in town. And naturally, he’s basking in the euphoria that attends his new standing.
On the night, Adekoya was in a rapturous state. As the comperes invited him to the stadium, he took his time, looked round the hall, and a smile spread out on his face.
As he walked to the podium as his citation was being read, every guest in the hall rose up and gave the inspector a standing ovation. Attired in a cream kaftan, brown cap and black sandals, he moved briskly to the podium, alongside his wife.
Winner of last year’s Nigerian Hero Award, Madam Elizabeth Akande, whose life has since been totally transformed, was already waiting on the podium. He was later presented with a trophy and a N300, 000 cheque by the Deputy Managing Director of The Sun, Mr. Femi Adesina. Adekoya was one of those garlanded at the weekend by The Sun Publishing Limited at The Sun Annual Awards, a glamorous event held at Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos.
He won the Nigerian Hero award and was presented with a trophy, a certificate and the sum of N300, 000 by the company. That presentation unlocked the floodgates for a downpour of monetary gifts for the brave police officer. Akwa Ibom State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio started the naira rain on Adekoya with N2m. Soon, everybody was struggling to outdo the other as the shower of blessings on the police officer continued.
The Body of Principal Officers in the House of Representatives gave him N2m. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar gave him N1m, while many others also donated various sums to the police officer. In his response, a bewildered Adekoya spoke slowly, picking his words.
Said he: “I thank everybody here for The Sun award given to me. I am very grateful. Today would have made it five months and 14 days that I would have been dead. But I thank God and my supporters, most especially my Commissioner of Police, Umaru Manko.
I still have four bullets in my body after 16 bullets had been removed. But I thank God on that day when at the point of death, I still got up and wasted the gang leader. If I come back to life, I will still join the police so that I will continue to defend defenceless Nigerians.” But right now, the man is gradually coming to terms with his new standing as a rich man.
“Yes, see how The Sun changed my life! I’m on top of the world now, even though I still cannot believe that I’m a millionaire” the gallant police officer told the reporter yesterday. “I’m just trying to come to terms with the reality. On Saturday, I was just a struggling police officer.
Then in a matter of minutes, I had become a millionaire several times over. I’m so happy I can’t even describe how I’m feeling now.” Adekoya said he was leader of a three-man police Rapid Response Squad (RRS) patrol team that was attacked by a gang of 15 robbers armed with sophisticated weapons and operating in three vehicles at Ogba, Lagos on September 12, 2012.
By the time they were done, the robbers had killed Adekoya’s two colleagues. They also thought the inspector was already dead. But as the leader of the gang was walking away in absolute triumph, Adekoya got his AK 47 and unleashed a torrent of gunfire on the bandit’s head, killing him instantly.
The policeman was later rescued, rushed to the hospital and saved. Many people are now urging the police authorities to showcase Adekoya as a symbol of gallantry in the force. “He should be rewarded by the police,” Idowu Davids, a Lagos-based computer analyst says. “People say policemen are incompetent and would run away at the sight of armed robbers. People like Adekoya should be celebrated.
The Inspector-General should start by promoting the man. He should be elevated to the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP). Then the police should make him a symbol of bravery. The police can get a lot of good public relations from an officer like this if they do it well.”
In a chat with the reporter yesterday, Adekoya recalled the Black Sunday that he lost his men and was nearly despatched to the great beyond. “At 2.30pm, I blocked the gang of robbers at Guinness Bus Stop, Oba Akran Road, Ikeja, because I was leading the team. I sat beside the driver as commander of the team. So they faced me. They were operating in three vehicles. They riddled our vehicle with bullets. They emptied 35 bullets on each of my colleagues and put 20 in me. So they thought we were all dead.
Then the leader came to us to ascertain if we were dead or not. I was half-dead, but I pretended I was dead. The man touched me, held my hand and thought I was dead. He then removed my rank from my shoulder and threw it in the gutter. He said, “Look at the bastard. He’s the leader of the team. Now every one of them is dead.” He then waved at the rest and said they should start going. “They were in three SUVs – a Nissan Armada, a Nissan Patrol and a Toyota Landcruiser. I saw when he waved his hands to those people, signalling to them that we were all dead, that they should not just worry themselves.
“As he was going back, I now summoned courage and thought in my mind that, after all, ‘the rest of my people are gone, and even me, I’m still going.’ Because I thought I was still going to die. The door was already opened. So as he was going victoriously, I aimed my gun at his head through the door side and put the gun on rapid. Then I fired. The volley of bullets hit him in the head and he fell inside the gutter. He died instantly. Then I quietly withdrew the gun and was waiting to see their reaction.
“Then one of his boys who saw him raised the alarm and said ah, so these bastards are many. They thought some of us had jumped through the fence inside Guinness. They started firing again. Then they took the body of their leader and threw it inside the Armada. Then one of them came to my side and fired two shots at me. Then they zoomed off. “About ten minutes later, a patrol vehicle came and took us to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja.
From there, I called my wife. Fortunately, my first son who studies at the polytechnic in Ilorin, was around. They both came to the hospital. They did a surgery on me and extracted 16 bullets from me. By then, the RRS Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police Jimi Odumosu and his second-in-command, Mr. Awopetu were both there. It was the second day that my wife showed me two containers that the doctors had given her, and that they contained the bullets that had been removed from his system.
We counted them and they were 16. They said I still had four remaining. They said those four were lodged in very sensitive places and that they would be removed later.” Did he ever imagine he would leave the venue of The Sun Awards with any money? “Not at all,” he said. “I wasn’t even expecting money. You know, I’ve been feeling on top of the world since. I thank God for The Sun and everybody that gave me money.
I don’t even know how to thank them. I’m still overwhelmed. The doctors said I should stay off work for some time so that my injury would heal. But I can’t wait to get back to the field, because that’s what makes me happy. I will remain a police officer for life.”
How would he spend his money? He laughed a little. “You know, one thing I know is that I will spend the money wisely. That’s one thing I know.” He dedicated his award to his fallen colleagues and prayed that God would continue to be with their families.
He also laughed off insinuations that he might have used some charms to escape death on the day he escaped being killed by robbers. He said he’s a devout Christian, a worker in the Christ Apostolic Church and would never think of using juju.
I have never used juju in my life,” he emphasised. I was born a Catholic, but now I attend the Christ Apostolic Church where I’m a worker. But I know it’s not my faith that saved me. No, it is the grace of God. It is certainly not my faith. It is the favour of God.”