The Police Command in Abia on Saturday confirmed the arrest of an unnamed police officer for the killing of Friday Arunsi, a middle-aged businessman at his Ebem Ohafia community.
The Abia Police Public Relations Officer, Geoffrey Ogbonna, who confirmed the arrest to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday, said that police operative who killed the businessman was currently in detention.
Mr Ogbonna, a superintendent of police, said that the Police Commissioner in the state, Ene Okon, went to Ebem Ohafia on Saturday with a team to console the family of the deceased.
A witness, Sunday Onwuka, said the policeman on Friday shot and killed Mr Arunsi at his shop at Ebem, in Ohafia local government area of Abia.
Mr Onwuka said the late businessman and his uncle, Moses, were offloading their consignment of beverages from a truck at their store at Eni Njoku Street in Ebem when some policemen walked into the shop.
He said the policemen told Messrs Moses and Arunsi to stop offloading their goods from the truck that brought the consignment but Mr Arunsi and his uncle asked them why they should stop.
Mr Onwuka said that instead of giving them a reasonable response, the policemen threatened them and later walked to the police station where they signed for a gun which they allegedly used to kill Mr Arunsi on their return.
He said that in an attempt to save Mr Arunsi’s life, his kinsmen rushed him to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Umuahia, where he was confirmed dead late on Friday.
Another source, who pleaded anonymity, said when news of Mr Arunsi’s death broke in Ebem on Saturday morning, the youths protested with his corpse on the streets of Ebem Ohafia, after it was returned home.
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He said that instead of the police authorities calming the situation, they mobilized the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) operatives to the scene of the protest.
The source said that before the SARS men arrived, the military men were calming the youths down until the SARS operatives shot at them and injured a barber, Okoro Kalu, who is now in the hospital.
He said these chain of events involving Mr Arunsi’s death and Mr Kalu’s shooting made the youths to regroup and attacked the Ohafia police station which they broke into and released inmates.
He said the youths then went and burnt Ebem Customary and Magistrate Courts alongside the police quarters, DPO’s residence, and some vehicles in the compound.
NAN reports that Mr Arunsi’s death brings the number of Abia residents killed by security agents since the lockdown began on April 1 to five.
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