An official of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Abịa State on Wednesday shot a commercial driver killing him instantly.
The incident happened in Umuikaa in Isiala Ngwa Local Government Area of the state.
Enraged by the killing of the driver, youth of the area took to the streets to protest the killing.
The protesting youth blocked the Enugu-Port Harcourt highway leaving commuters and other road users stranded for hours.
Residents alleged that the commercial motorist carrying perishable and non-perishable food items reportedly had a heated argument with the NSCDC personnel.
The driver, in the midst of the argument, reportedly attempted driving off which angered the NSCDC official who shot at him and he died instantly
One witness said: “The driver carrying tomatoes among other food items approached the Civil Defence checkpoint where they (NSCDC) were enforcing the order of the governor (Ikpeazu) on COVID-19 after they flagged him down.
“We didn’t know what they were discussing initially, but when tempers started flaring, the driver was accusing him (NSCDC) personnel of extortion.
“The driver said that he can’t give him more than what he has given (bribe) to him (the NSCDC official), insisting that the restriction order doesn’t affect drivers carrying food items.
“When the temper was high, we left and were watching the drama from afar.
“The driver tried driving off and the next thing we heard was gunshot. We all ran away and by the time we came back, we saw the driver in the pool of his blood.
“The gunshot attracted people in the area and seeing what happened, the youths and others blocked the express in protest.”
The incident was said to have angered youth in the area, who attempted to lynch the NSCDC official.
The NSCDC official, who narrowly escaped death, ran into a police station in the area for safety.
Police confirm killing
Meanwhile, the commissioner of police in the state, Ene Okon, confirmed that the NSCDC personnel is in police custody.
Mr Okon said he has directed that the NSCDC official be transferred to the SCID, Umuahia “for proper investigation.”
The police boss, who warned security personnel to be mindful the way they use guns entrusted in their care, said if after investigation the man was found culpable, the police would arraign him for murder.
NSCDC condemns killing
Also, the Commandant General of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Abdullahi Muhammadu, has condemned the killing of the commercial bus driver.
Mr Gana, in a statement by his media aide, Ekunola Gbenga, sent to PREMIUM TIMES, also ordered a thorough investigation into the killing.
He revealed that the suspect had been arrested and handed over to the police for investigation and prosecution.
He admitted the victim whose identity was yet to be known was reportedly shot by an officer of the corps while enforcing lockdown order in the state on Wednesday.
The spokesman claimed that the slain driver had allegedly approached the checkpoint without stopping and in his bid to pass the checkpoint in a haste, “he brushed an NSCDC personnel, where they were enforcing the lockdown order by the government before the incident occurred”.
“The Commandant General has ordered a probe into the incident and given assurance that if after investigation the officer involved was found culpable, he would be made to face the full wrath of the law,” the statement said.
“Mr Gana totally regretted the unfortunate incident and condemned it in its entirety and commiserated with the family of the slain driver. He assured Nigerians that the Corps would continue to live above board.
“We want to say that the action of this erring officer does not represent what the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps stands for.
“The CG directed the ACG in charge of zone E, and the Commandant of Abia State Command to carry out a full-scale investigation into the incident and ensure that the suspect was prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others.
“The Corps respects the sanctity of life and dignity of the human person as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution. Once again, we apologise profusely for any inconvenience or embarrassment this isolated action must have caused anyone most especially at this critical period when the world are facing the pandemic of COVID-19,” the statement added.
Many Nigerians have been killed by trigger happy operatives in the last few days as a result of the lockdowns initiated by the federal government and many state governments to curb the spread of the coronavirus.