The Lagos State Police Commissioner’s Special Squad has detained five policemen attached to singer Damini Ogulu aka Burna Boy for attempted murder after they shot two fun seekers, Irebami Lawrence and another identified simply as Tolu, at Club Cubana in Lagos on Wednesday, The PUNCH can confirm.
The development comes just a few years after the Lagos State police command declared Burna Boy wanted for allegedly sending armed thugs to assault and rob fellow musician, Abiye Jumbo, aka Mr. 2Kay.
According to a preliminary police report by the Bar Beach Police Division in Lagos State, trouble started around 4am on June 8, 2022 when the musician and five police escorts visited Club Cubana in Victoria Island.
About four policemen waited outside while one of the policemen identified as Inspector Ibrahim, who was in mufti, accompanied the Grammy- winning artiste into the club.
According to multiple witness statements, the singer was in the VIP section with three women when he spotted another woman.
He was reported to have told Ibrahim to invite the woman to come join him.
However, the lady’s husband was said to have lambasted Burna Boy, insisting that it was disrespectful for any man to make advances at his wife.
After some minutes, Burna Boy was reported to have made fresh advances towards the woman.
This infuriated her husband further and his friends who had gathered at the club and the matter soon degenerated.
“As things were getting heated, Ibrahim brought out his service pistol and shot multiple times while Burna Boy was laughing,” said a senior policeman.
In the process, 27 year-old Lawrence was shot in the thigh while his friend, Tolu, was hit in the head by a bullet.
This caused commotion in the club.
Some people brought out their phones to record what was happening but the policemen began snatching and smashing phones.
“They eventually made their way out of the club and also shot into the air in order to escape. While all this happened, the Cubana management did nothing about it. In the first place, they ought not to have allowed anyone to bring in a gun into the club,” said a senior policeman.
It was learnt that Burna Boy and his crew drove off to one of his properties in the Elegushi end of the Lekk-Epe Expressway and later Lekki Phase 1.
“Aware of what he had done, Burna Boy took the next flight out without even informing his policemen. He only called them on video later to inform them that he had travelled to Spain. All his police escorts have been arrested and are currently at the command headquarters,” said a top source at the office of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police.
Sources close to the victims said the police were already making attempts to protect Burna Boy because of his status while the victims were treating their wounds at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja.
“They want to focus all attention on the policemen and absolve Burna Boy of blame. It is obvious that the police will not do anything about the matter just like in the case of Mr 2Kay,” said a friend of the victims.
In a chat with The PUNCH, a brother to the victim, who identified himself only as Jide, said his brother had undergone a surgery to remove the bullet from his thigh on Friday.
Jide further stated Irebami, who is based in the United States, had only arrived in Nigeria a week ago for a wedding when the unfortunate incident happened.
He also berated the management of Club Cubana for not doing enough to forestall the situation, adding that the club management had not even reached out to the family since the incident occurred.
Jide added, “My brother and his friends came in from the US for a wedding when this thing happened. The annoying part was that Burna Boy was even laughing when this shooting was taking place. He approved of what they did.
“One of the bullets grazed my brother’s friend in the head while my brother was shot in the thigh. He underwent a surgery on Friday.
“The Cubana people are even denying that anything happened. They have not even reached out to us. It was only the morning of the shooting that a manager at the club, White Lion, interacted with us.”
Attempts to get a response from Burna Boy’s manager, Mrs. Bose Ogulu, who is also his mother, proved abortive as she neither responded to calls nor a text message on Saturday.
Similarly, Chioma Nwachukwu, a media consultant for Cubana, did not respond to calls on Saturday.
He said, “It was the policemen attached to him that shot and it is an internal disciplinary matter. They will explain why they had to shoot into the air and the outcome of their explanation during the investigation will determine what steps to take next.
“So, it is an internal thing with the police officers that were with him. Except you have news that Burna Boy was the one shooting; then we will have to investigate how he got the gun and all that. But what we have for now is that the policemen were the ones that shot.
“We are treating the policemen internally for disciplinary matters. We didn’t get a report of somebody being hit by a bullet. If somebody was hit by a bullet, anybody treating the person is supposed to have reported but we didn’t get any report of such. The investigation is ongoing.”
In 2017, the Lagos State police command declared Burna Boy wanted for allegedly sending thugs to attack and rob fellow artiste, Mr 2kay, in his room at the Eko Hotel and Suites on Victoria Island after performing in the 2face’s ‘Buckwyld N Breathless’ concert held in the hotel.
They were reported to have beaten him up and dispossessed him of a wristwatch, gold jewellery, phones, among other valuables estimated at millions of naira, at gunpoint.
The matter was later settled amicably between Burna Boy and Mr 2Kay and the Ye crooner escaped criminal prosecution.