The Nigerian Army on Saturday announced that a soldier who allegedly shot dead a commercial motorcyclist in Abia State has been arrested.
Ajayi Johnson was identified as the soldier who fatally shot Chimaobi Nwaogu of Umuokereke-Ngwa, Obingwa Local Government Area, on Wednesday.
Mr Johnson, a lance corporal, was said to be away without official leave when the incident occurred near a military base in Ohanze community, according to a spokesperson for the 82 Division, Aliyu Yusuf.
Witnesses accused the soldier of opening fire after Mr Nwaogu allegedly failed to pay a N100 bribe at the military checkpoint.
The development angered Nigerians, being the latest in a string of frequent attacks by soldiers on civilians or other security agents. Last week, soldiers in Edo State reportedly shot dead a member of a local vigilante and freed suspected robbers in his custody. Military authorities there said the victim was mistaken for robbers, according to the Punch newspaper.
Separately, a presidential inquiry is underway after troops of the Nigerian Army shot dead three police officers in Taraba State and freed a suspected kidnapper. The Army said its troops mistook the officers for kidnappers but the Police accused the assailants of “criminality”.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu visited the Abia community on Friday and promised residents that justice would be served in the matter.
“The death of this young man is extremely painful and cannot go in vain,” the governor told the residents. “This is my position and this is the position of the government and people of Abia State.”
People of the community have also demanded the removal of the military checkpoint, saying it had worsened rather than improve their security.
“The soldier has since been arrested and detained. Disciplinary procedure is in progress. He will be tried according to extant military law and if found culpable will be dismissed and handed over to the civil police for prosecution,” Mr Aliyu, a colonel, said in a statement.
“The Nigerian Army deeply regrets this unfortunate incident and prays for the repose of the soul of the deceased.”