Kazeem Tiamiyu: Nigerian footballer laid to rest as police face questions

Kazeem Tiyamiyu
Kazeem Tiyamiyu was assistant captain for Remo Stars

Footballer Kazeem Tiyamiyu, whose death sparked protests in south-western Nigerian city of Sagamu, has been buried but question remain about his death.

The 21-year-old, who played in defence for second tier side Remo Stars, was knocked down and killed in an apparent hit and run, but his club alleged that he was a victim of police brutality.

Attended by his family, friends and teammates, Tiamiyu was tucked in the traditional white shroud (kafan) used to wrap bodies and buried in line with Islamic burial custom.

"We lit up Kazeem Tiyamiyu (Kaka)'s path to Al-Jannah yesterday night and he was buried today at his family house in Ajaka, Sagamu, Ogun State," Remo Stars announced.

Midfielder Toyeeb Gidado paid tribute to his teammate and described him as a "great person".

"It's sad to say goodbye to someone you play alongside, a great person because this could've been anyone of us," Gidado told BBC Sport.

The club president Kunle Soname and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) boss Amaju Pinnick paid a condolence visit to the family this week.

The circumstances surrounding Tiamiyu's death have been widely condemned across the country as it reportedly happened while he was in a vehicle being detained by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) force.

It led to a protest march - demanding justice and for SARS to be disbanded - by thousands of residents in Sagamu, which is about 50km north-east of the commercial capital, Lagos.

At least three people were reported to have died during the protest march, with police saying that they are 'still investigating' these claims.

"No father wants to bury his son and this is heartbreaking for my family because Kazeem was on the verge of travelling to Europe for trial," Fasasi, the father of the late footballer told BBC Sport.

"What happened, why was he killed and how does a family recover from this. These are the questions no one can answer."

Nigeria's police has long been accused of human rights abuses and corruption, but top officials say bad police officers will be held accountable for their actions.

The officer involved is being detained while the case has now been transferred from Ogun state to the national Police's Force Criminal Investigation Division (FCID).

"The FCID took over the case few days ago and we've commenced investigation into the incident," Nigerian Police spokesperson Frank Mba told BBC Sport.

"Investigation is still ongoing and our pledge to Nigerians is that we will keep the process transparent and accountable.

"But I also think we should wait for processes to be completed so that we don't give information back and forth."

Police in Nigeria have always come under the spotlight and the authority was forced into an immediate re-organisation of the anti-robbery unit in December 2017, after a social media outcry over alleged police brutality.

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