Nigeria: Youths Protest Killing of Native, 23, Burn Police Van in Umuahia

Scores of angry youths of Afaraukwu in Umuahia, the Abia capital, took to the streets of the city on Tuesday morning to protest the alleged killing of a 23-year-old native, known as Chukwubikem Onuoha.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that Onuoha was shot to death on Monday night in his father's compound by a policeman, identified simply as Sgt. Collins Apugo.

The incident generated tension in the town as the protesters marched to the Central Police Station (CPS), Umuahia to lodge their complaint.

Narrating the incident to newsmen at the station, a witness and spokeswoman of the protesters, Mrs Ngozi Ogbonna, said the policeman was driving back home at night in a Hilux van, when the incident happened.

Ogbonna said the suspect pulled out his pistol and allegedly shot the deceased twice in the chest for allegedly asking him to dim the light of his car.

She said: "Chibuikem and his brother, Kenneth, were sitting in front of their compound, when the policeman, who was driving back home, pointed his light at them.

"So Chibuikem told him, 'Oga please dim your light' but the policeman got angry.

"He quickly came down from the car with a pistol and shot him at his collar bone."

"His elder brother, Kenneth, who was also there, accosted the policeman and he (policeman) also threatened to shoot him."

Ogbonna further said that Kenneth quickly rushed to inform the youths of the community about what happened.

"But before he came back, the policeman shot Chibuikem the second time, which eventually led to his death," she said.

She said the policeman ran away before the youths got to the scene.

She said that the boy was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia but reportedly died on the way, having bled profusely from the gunshot wounds.

It was further learnt that the policeman fled the area with his family after the incident.

NAN learnt that the youths, who combed the entire area in search of the suspect to no avail, later set his Hilux van ablaze.

The President-General of the community, Mr Emeka Ezebuiro, expressed concern over the incident.

Ezebuiro said information available to him showed that the boy was shot and murdered in cold blood.

When NAN visited the community, it was difficult to have audience with the mother of the deceased, as she was said to be asleep, while Kenneth was also said to have gone to the CPS.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr Ene Okon, confirmed the incident, saying he had ordered the arrest of the suspect wherever he might be.

Okon also said he had set up a committee of senior police officers to wade into the matter.

He said the committee was expected to pay a condolence visit to the family of the deceased, the community leaders and youths with a view to pacifying them.

He further said the command was already talking with appropriate government officials on how to handle the matter and avert further damage.

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