Premium Times (Abuja)

Nigeria: Tension in Maiduguri As Police Shot Dead Civilian-JTF

The calming state of insecurity in Maiduguri the Borno state capital was today steamed up after a police man shot dead a member of the youth vigilante civilian-JTF, witnesses and security officials said.

The incident happened at about 3:30 p.m. when Vice President Namadi Sambo and the Sultan of Sokoto were launching the 2013 inaugural flight of intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, at the Maiduguri International Airport.

Angry youth vigilante blocked the Kano-Maiduguri road with burning tyres and calling for the neck of every policeman, whom they called accomplice of the Boko Haram.

The convoy of the Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima, coming from the airport after the Vice President had officially flagged off the 2013 Hajj airlift, was stopped for about 35 minutes by the barricades mounted by angry youths who continued to chant 'police-Boko Haram'.

Governor Shettima, who was accompanied by other security chiefs including the state police commissioner, Lawal Tanko, had to laboriously plea with the youth all the way to get to the Government House.

According to a member of the Civilian-JTF, Muhammed Adamu, trouble started when members of the Civilian-JTF, who caught another Boko Haram member, had to take the wrong lane along the Borno Express terminus near the SSS office.

'We were taking the Boko Haram suspect we caught in Benisheik to the soldiers' post near Borno Express, opposite SSS office when a policeman stopped us and asked us to take the other lane; we told him we could not because we had a Boko Haram suspect. He threatened to shoot if we don't, then one of our members said he dare not. And the policeman opened fire killing one of our members.

PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the police man was mobbed by the angry youth who freely used machetes and clubs on him.

The spokesman of the 7th Division of the Nigeria Army, Lt Col Sagir Musa, said he personally took the mobbed policeman, who was drenched in blood, to the police headquarters as the angry youth threatened to see him die.

Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima, who pleaded and calmed the angry youths that accompanied him to the Government House later told journalists that government would do everything to pacify the family of the dead Civilian-JTF member.

"This is a sad development as it really threatens the emerging peace we are enjoying. But we would do everything to pacify all the aggrieved; especially, we are going to compensate the family of the deceased young man with the sum of N3.5 million.

"And we have also promised that if the parents are living in rented apartment we are going to see that we give them new accommodation at the 1000-housing unit. This is not an attempt to say we could compensate the dead of a human, but it is our modest way of sharing in their moment of grief. That young man who was killed, died trying to protect his community, and we as government have all the responsibility to share in the grief of his family. Our sincere condolences goes to the family of the young man.

"I want to appeal to the angry youths to calm down; this is our state and the youths have assisted us tremendously in restoring peace. Let them not destabilize the emerging peace we are enjoying now. I will be going to attend the burial of the young man personally tomorrow. There is even an unconfirmed report that the policeman who perpetrated the killing of the innocent young man has equally passed away. This is sad. But I still appeal for calm', said Governor Shettima.

The state police commissioner, Lawal Tanko, confirmed the incident at the time governor Shettima was briefing the press.

Spokesman of the 7th Division said soldiers have been deployed to the area to see that the youngmen did not go back to barricade the highway again.

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