Youths in Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria, burnt down four police stations on Wednesday over the killing of two commercial motorcyclists.
HumAngle learnt that a man identified as Ebere was shot dead on Tuesday night by police personnel suspected to be from Igbo-Ukwu Division in Aguata Local Government Area of the state.
The policemen were said to be enforcing the order of the government against the operation of commercial motorcycles beyond 9 p.m.
HumAngle also learnt that another motorcyclist who was part of the crowd protesting over the killing on Tuesday night was killed on Wednesday morning at Ekwulobia Divisional Office by police personnel who claimed they were acting in self-defence.
Following the second killing, the Aguata area of the state was thrown into panic due to violent protests that erupted.
A total of four police stations were burnt by angry youth while an attempt to attack the Ekwulobia Minimum Correctional Centre was foiled by soldiers on duty.
Three vehicles were burnt beyond recognition at the Igbo-Ukwu Police Station, HumAngle learnt.
A motorcycle transport operator, who identified himself as Echezona, said Ebere, a friend, was preparing for the burial of his father before his death.
Echezona said police personnel at Igbo-Ukwu Division all fled the station and sought refuge in other places because they were guilty and afraid of the consequences of their action.
He said although he was not at the scene at the time of the incident, he was informed that Ebere died while resisting arrest by the police.
“As I was having my bath this morning, I received a call that one of our members, a motorcyclist, was shot dead in the night, at about 10 p.m. and I rushed to the scene.
“When I got there, he happened to be somebody I knew, my friend from Ebonyi State, who was preparing for the burial of his father, I started to cry and that is why I lost my voice.
“They said it was the police that shot him. When we got to Igbo-Ukwu police station, we saw his motorcycle there but there were no policemen at the station because all of them had run away.
“That was how people went on a rampage, the station was burnt with some cars within the premises.
The protesters now moved to Ekwulobia station to register their anger and at that point, the police shot another motorcyclist dead,” he said.
Mrs Adanna Ezeofor, a trader at Ekwulobia, said Wednesday was a day of anger and throwback to the violence that followed the EndSARS protest.
Ezeofor said killing someone who was protesting an earlier killing was a great provocation by the police and expressed fear that the worst might not be over.
She said commerce and transportation were at a standstill while the protest lasted.
“It was a very unfortunate situation, the youth carried the dead bodies wherever they went to register their anger. They were calling on the police to take delivery of the games they hunted,” she said.
Mr Chukwuka Etiocha, the Chairman of Aguata Local Government Area Youth Association, said four police stations had already been burnt down before he arrived at the scene and to persuade the youth to calm down.
Etiocha said the police stations burnt were Igbo-Ukwu, Ekwulobia, Oko and Special Anti-Cultism Squad office in Ekwulobia.
“I met the protesters at Anti-Cult office and managed to calm them down but they insisted on going to the Prisons facility, I joined them and prevailed on them to remain calm.
“It is quite unfortunate that the police lacked the experience to manage that type of crowd.
It was for the grace of God I am not among the dead because as I was speaking to the mob, the police were pointing guns and began to shoot in our direction.
“I told the police officers to halt the killings that we don’t want more casualties but he said they needed more casualties.
“I want to use this opportunity to call on the inspector-general of police and the commissioner to investigate and stop this issue of police brutality.
In a statement, the Police Command in Anambra State confirmed its operative killed the motorcyclist who was arrested in the course of enforcing the ban on the use of motorcycles beyond 9 p.m.
SP Haruna Mohammed, Police Public Relations Officer, said the commissioner of police had ordered the arrest and detention of the offending cop and gave an assurance that he would be brought to book after investigation.
“On Dec.15, at about 10:30 p.m., there was an altercation between police operatives and motorcycle riders over some impounded motorcycles as a result of the recent restriction on movement of motorcycles beyond 9 p.m. in the state.
“The situation degenerated into chaos which led to an accidental discharge that hit one motorcycle rider and burning of Igboukwu Police Station by irate youth…
“The Commissioner of Police, John Abang, is deeply saddened by the unfortunate incident and has ordered for the detention of the policemen involved and full scale investigation into the matter.
“The CP further appeals for calm and assures the public that justice would be done in the case and the outcome of police investigation shall be made public in due course,” Mohammed stated.
Support Our Journalism
There are millions of ordinary people affected by conflict in Africa whose stories are missing in the mainstream media. HumAngle is determined to tell those challenging and under-reported stories, hoping that the people impacted by these conflicts will find the safety and security they deserve.
To ensure that we continue to provide public service coverage, we have a small favour to ask you. We want you to be part of our journalistic endeavour by contributing a token to us.
Your donation will further promote a robust, free, and independent media.Donate Here