Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki has promised to offset the hospital bills of two deaf persons, Mr Bright Osarobo and Mr Osazee Festus who were reportedly shot by some trigger-happy security operatives during the last October #EndSARS protest in Benin City.
The decision by Governor Obaseki which was disclosed at Monday’s sitting comes on the heels of a passionate appeal by the Edo State chapter of the Association of the Deaf during hearing at the Edo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry for victims of police special anti-robbery squad (SARS) and related abuses to the state government.
In a petition titled “EndSARS Tragedy: Shooting and Hospitalisation of Two Deaf Men: Mr Bright Osarobo and Mr Osazee Festus, Call for Justice” signed by the chairman, Mr Kingsley Eromosele, he lamented that it was disturbing that two unarmed innocent deaf men were victims of the excessive use of brute force by security men to quell a peaceful protest by citizens.
He said that Osarobo and Osazee who were both unarmed were shot on October 20, 2020, in Benin City by a combined team of police and soldiers at Oguola junction, Siluko road and Upper Sokponba road, respectively.
According to Eromosele, Osarobo who was shot few metres away from his house by the police was hospitalised and operated on the right hip and abdomen at Time Hospital and later transferred to Accident and Emergency Unit, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, (UBTH) while Osazee was shot by soldiers at the back of his neck while waiting to be hired as an artisan along Upper Sokponba road and was rushed to Omosu Hospital for stabilization before being transferred to Accident and Emergency Unit of (UBTH.
Eromosele said Osarobo whose right leg has been amputated owing to the gravity of the injury from the gunshot also suffered renal failure as a result of complications from the abdominal operation.
On the other hand, he said Osazee run the risk of being bedridden as a result of spinal cord injury.
Eromosele said both Mr. Bright Osarobo and Mr Osazee Festus are deaf young men who work as artisans to earn a living, adding that due to their conditions, both victims were not aware of the declaration of curfew by the state government.
Eromosele, while stating their demands, listed offsetting the medical bills incurred by the duo as one of their demands through the panel to the state governor.