Clement Nnachi, Abakaliki
There was pandemonium in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, on Thursday, after a commercial motorcycle rider, Ofim Ejike, was allegedly shot dead by a policeman, Onyebuchi Nweke.
Ejike was allegedly killed on Wednesday by the trigger-happy police sergeant.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the sergeant, who was attached to the Anti-Kidnapping Squad, allegedly shot the victim for refusing to part with a N50 bribe.
The shooting resulted in violent confrontation as youths of the area made bonfires on Udemezue and Waterworks roads and barricaded adjoining streets to demand justice for the victim.
A combined team of anti-riot policemen from the police command headquarters in Abakaliki later stormed the scene, firing tear gas canisters to disperse the angry youths.
Our correspondent gathered that the anti-kidnapping team was conducting a stop and search at Anan World Junction, Waterworks Road, when they flagged down the motorcycle rider at the check point.
A witness, Okwuchukwu Unata, explained that Ejike, who had a female passenger, was ordered by the operatives to pay N50.
He said, “While he was trying to park, the killer sergeant corked his AK-47 rifle and shot him in the face at close range.”
Another witness, Sunday Nwefuru, explained that the policeman who shot the victim had an altercation with other team members before the incident occurred.
Reacting to the incident, the leader of commercial motorcycle riders in the state, Mr. Reverend Akuma, described it as unfortunate, saying it should not have happened considering the harmonious working relationship between the union and the police.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Lovet Odah, said the killer cop was tried on Wednesday at the anti- kidnapping unit and had been dismissed from the Force.
The PPRO said such actions would not be condoned by the police, adding that the suspect would be arraigned on Friday (today) to face charges bordering on murder.
She said, “The incident was unfortunate; we are appealing for peace and order. There is no way the police command will condone such a dastardly act. The suspect, Sergeant Onyebuchi Nweke, was tried at the department level and was summarily dismissed from the Force
“If any motorcycle rider was arrested or his motorcycle confiscated following the incident, as soon as there is calm, they will be released and their motorcycles returned to them. Every strategy we adopt is aimed at bringing peace to the state capital.
“No stone will be left unturned to ensure justice for the victim, Ofim Ejike.”
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