The Abia State Police Command has arrested a policeman, Inspector Ukeme Etuk, for allegedly killing a graduate of the Abia State Polytechnic, Chinyere Ugochukwu, over an alleged N50 bribe.
Ugochukwu was said to be travelling on a motorcycle on Friday when his rider was accosted by policemen at a checkpoint in front of the Metrological Complex on Obikabia-Umukalika Road in the Obingwa Local Government Area of the state.
UGAMATV learnt that the policemen, led by one Yahaya, attached to the Aba area command, requested a bribe from the motorcyclist, who declined the request, which led to an argument.
Our correspondents gathered that Etuk shot Ugochukwu when he attempted to intervene in the matter.
According to a blog that posted about the incident, siggy.ng, the policemen fled the scene after the incident.
An eyewitness, Christopher Nduagu, said Etuk warned the deceased not to move close to him and shot him when he did.
He said, “He was a passenger on a motorcycle going to Obikabia Junction but one of the policemen at Umukalika police checkpoint stopped them to demand their usual N50, but the motorcyclist told him that he did not have the money.
“They had a heated argument, leading to intervention by the passenger. But the police officer, who warned Chinyere (Ugochukwu) not to come close to him, fired him and when he was rushed to a private hospital nearby, he was pronounced dead.”
Another eyewitness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the motorcyclist was also shot in his knee.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Geoffrey Obonna, who confirmed the incident, said the police inspector was attached to the Ohuru Isimiri Police Station.
He said, “On the 16th of November, there was an incident of accidental discharge around 10.50am along Umukalika Road in Obingwa.
“A police patrol team ran into a group of Okada (motorcycle) riders blocking the road and in the process of dispersing them, there was a misunderstanding, during which one Inspector Ukeme Etuk released a shot that hit Ugochukwu in the buttocks.”
According to him, the victim was rushed to a hospital for medical attention, but he died on November 20.
The PPRO said the cop had been arrested and detained for trial, adding that appropriate measures would be taken against him.
Meanwhile, following public outcry, the state Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has directed the immediate investigation of the incident.
The governor, in a release by his Chief of Staff, Prof. A.C.B. Agbazuer, reminded residents that his government had in the past ensured the arrest of trigger-happy policemen and made them face justice.
He urged everyone to maintain the peace and go about their normal duties “as the government will strictly not tolerate lawlessness under any guise”.
However, Abians called on the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, and the Abia State Commissioner of Police, Mrs Janeth Agbede, to swing into action and bring the perpetrators to book.
The victim, who was said to be an orphan, was reportedly sponsored to school by his extended family.