The Police have arrested and dismissed the officer who shot dead a motorcyclist in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital on Wednesday, a spokesperson said.
Police spokesperson, Loveth Odah, said the suspect had been summarily dismissed from the force and would be charged to court on Friday with murder.
Ofim Ejike was shot along the popular Waterworks Road in Abakaliki last night by Onyebuchi Nweke, a police sergeant attached to the Anti-kidnapping squad of the state police command.
The motorcyclist was accosted by police officers of the Anti-Kidnapping squad at Anan World junction by Waterworks Road.
A source who witnessed the incident said the victim, who is his 20s, had a female passenger when he was flagged down by the officers who are notorious for extorting motorists at night at the junction.
“When they stopped him, they demanded for their usual N50 but he gave them N20 and wanted to drive off when ọne of them opened fire on him. The bullet shattered his head and he died instantly,” said the source. It could not be immediately ascertained if the female passenger of the slain cyclist was also hit by the bullets.
The incident caused pandemonium as residents along the road and adjourning streets attempted to lynch the officers. They also used tyres to set bonfires on the road.
But the arrival of a detachment of police officers to the scene saved the day as they used teargas to dispel the crowd while also shooting sporadically into the air.
The motorcyclists, however, regrouped Thursday morning and embarked on protest round the city causing traffic gridlock on major roads.
“We are appealing for peace and order; there is no way the police command would condone such dastardly act, Mrs Odah said.
“If I may tell you, the suspect, Sgt. Onyebuchi Nweke, was tried yesterday at the department level and was summarily dismissed from the force. He will be charged to court tomorrow.
“We are the only force or institution that washes our dirty linen in public. What happened is indeed unfortunate; if any Okada rider was arrested or his bike confiscated following the incident, as soon as there is calm, they will be released and the bike returned.
Every strategy is aimed at bringing peace to the state capital.”
Meanwhile, Abakaliki is still boiling as police officers on Thursday clashed with commercial motorcyclists protesting the killing of Mr Ofim.
Officers chased and attempted to repel the protesters with teargas but so far have failed to stop them, even after a few of the protesters have been arrested.
The police spokesperson said some senior officers sent to quell the situation were stoned by the Okada riders.
“As I am talking to you now, a police officer who was hit by stone, is now on admission at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki. He is presently battling for his life. Another officer was today beaten to stupor by the rampaging Okada riders.
“We appeal for peace and order as no stone would be left unturned to ensure justice for the victim, Mr. Ofim Ejike, who resides at 32 Linus Ede Street, Convent Road, Abakaliki.”
Following the incident, Governor David Umahi called for the arrest and prosecution of the police officers involved in the shooting.
Mr Umahi who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, last night described the incident as barbaric and callous and expressed confidence that justice will be done over the killing.
He said the incident has further called for more professional training of security personnel to stop further killing of innocent Nigerians while performing their duties.
The governor also assured that he would take up the matter with the Inspector-General of Police to ensure that the offficer who shot the cyclist is punished.
Expressing condolences to the family of the deceased, Governor Umahi promised to visit the family when information concerning his family is made available.
He called on the members of the public to remain calm and take laws into their hands.
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