A commercial cyclist, Mr Ofim Ejike, was shot dead yesterday by a police sergeant after he allegedly refused to part with N50 bribe at Abakaliki, Ebonyi State. Ejike, from Amachi community, Abakaliki Local Government Area, was shot in the eye and died instantly.
The alleged trigger happy police sergeant has been identified as Onyebuchi Nweke. He is attached to Anti-Kidnapping Squad of the Ebonyi State Police Command Headquarters, Abakaliki and was said to have been summarily dismissed. He would be arraigned in court today (Friday). Other cyclists, angry over the murder of their colleague, took to the streets in protest.
They set up bonfires and blocked major routes. Youths in the community later teamed up with the cyclists, chanting solidarity songs and demanding for justice. Anti-riot policemen stormed the scene and dispersed the youths and cyclists with canisters of tear gas.
Ejike was alleged to have been killed, when the Anti- Kidnapping Squad, conducting a ‘Stop and Search’ operation at Anan World Junction Water Works Road Abakaliki, flagged him down.
An eyewitness, Okwuchukwu Unata, said that Ejike, who had a passenger, was ordered by the policemen to park. They later allegedly demanded for N50 bribe from him.
Unata said: “While he was trying to park, one of the policemen corked his AK47 rifle and shot Ejike on his face, at close range.”
Another eyewitness, Sunday Nwefuru, claimed that the policeman, who shot and killed Ejike, was having an altercation with members of his team even before the arrival of the deceased.
The Commercial Motorcyclists Union Leader, Reverend Akuma, condemning the killing of Ejike, said the shooting shouldn’t have happened in the first place. He said that cyclists and police had an, “harmonious working relationship.”
It was further gathered that the unidentified female passenger, also sustained injuries and was rushed to a hospital. The Ebonyi State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRP), an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Loveth Odah, said the sergeant has been summarily dismissed.
Odah added that Nweke would be charged to court today to face charges bordering on murder.
The image maker further said: “The sergeant was tried yesterday at the department level and was summarily dismissed. We’re the only Force or institution that washes its dirty linens in public. If any cyclist was arrested or his motorcycle confiscated following the incident, as soon as there is calm, the motorcycles would be released to them.”