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Trigger-happy police officer kills scavenger over N200 in Lokoja

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HELL was let loose on Sunday when a trigger-happy police officer killed a father of 10, Mallam Haruna Sokoto, for refusing to accede to his demand for N200 bribe, just as colleagues of the deceased in the vicinity mounted bonfires on the Ganaja road in protest, which caused severe traffic gridlock for several hours.

   An eyewitness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the police demanded for N200 from one of the Hausa boys that was holding a scrap metal and the boy said he had no money because it was Sunday.

   He said the police asked to know how he came about the metal scrap for which the Hausa boy was ready to lead him to where he bought the scrap. The witness further explained that policemen from in the area always harass the boys by collecting N2,000 from them daily.

   He added that on the fateful day, the boys refused to pay the daily N2,000. “He threatened to take the Hausa boy with the metal scrap to the police station and in the ensuing argument, the officer shot him on the head and he died instantly.”

   The traffic gridlock, which ensued, was due to the protest by residents of the area. Both lanes of the dual carriageway were locked down, despite being a major road linking Lokoja with the East and West of the country.

   The police, however, drafted a detachment of its men to the area, who immediately swung into action to clear the road for normal traffic to be restored.

   The recalcitrant boys, who felt cheated over the death of their colleague, threatened to storm the Specialist Hospital where the body of the deceased was deposited in the mortuary to force their way in to take his body away.

   Rabiu Seidu, who said he is a brother to the deceased, said Sokoto had given the police officer N1,500 adding that he could not make it up to N2,000.

   Seidu, who wept profusely in a chat with The Guardian, added that the officer told his brother to add N200 to make it N1,700 and when he could not produce the N200, the officer held his trousers and shot him on the head.

   He said their major problem is who will take care of the family his brother left behind. The deceased was married to three wives with 10 children.

   The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Sola Collins Adebayo, said when the policemen were on routine check, they observed the large quantities of new building rods in possession of one Haruna Mohammed now dead, who engaged in the business of scrap and debris materials around Ganaja junction. 

   He said the deceased was unable to give appropriate account of the suspected stolen properties and in the course of resisting arrest, a gunshot sounded and he was seen soaked in a blood.



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