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How killing of Ohafia youth by drunken officer sparked violence in Abia

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Drunken police officers, not on essential duty, and led by an Assistant Superintendent of Police have snuffed life out of a young man in Ebem Ohafia area of Abia State. The Abia police command, which gave detailed account of what transpired, has expressed regret over the incident.

The victim, identified as Ifeanyi Arunsi, on Friday, April 17, was in company of his co-workers discharging goods from a truck when, according to sources in the Abia police command, “the policemen, led by an Assistant Superintendent of Police, who were neither on duty nor on COVID-19 preventive assignment, went out in a private car belonging to one of them to a drinking bar, where they got drunk and on their return home, the driver hit a truck off-loading goods.

“In an ensuing argument between the policemen and the people off-loading goods, one of the policemen, a constable disappeared from the scene and resurfaced with a police rifle and started shooting sporadically under the influence of alcohol during which a bullet hit the victim on the buttocks.”

In a swift reaction, the youths mobilised and set some police patrol vans ablaze, burnt DPO quarters, freed suspects in the police cell and damaged some parts of the court building in the area on Saturday. It took the intervention of soldiers from a nearby unit to restore normalcy.

The deceased, Ifeanyi Arunsi

“This singular act and others of same nature is regrettable, condemnable and not tolerated by both the Nigeria Police Force and its Abia State Command,” the command’s spokesman, SP Geoffrey Ogbonna, said, adding that the Commissioner of Police, Ene Okon, has commiserated with the family of the deceased as well as the entire Ohafia people.

The Commissioner of Police also appealed to the youths and people of Ebem Ohafia to eschew violence and destruction of police property while assuring that justice would be served. Ogbonna added that the erring policemen have been arrested for investigation and prosecution while the body of the deceased has been deposited in a yet to be disclosed mortuary by members of his family.

Meanwhile, the police in Osun State yesterday confirmed the arrest and detention of two of its personnel in a viral video torturing a woman in Iwo, while enforcing the COVID-19 lockdown order in the state. DSP Yemisi Opalola, the Osun Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) confirmed the development in a statement in Osogbo.

Opalola said the state Commissioner of Police, Johnson Kokumo, ordered the arrest and detention of the suspected erring officers, adding that arrangement had been set in motion to subject them to “orderly room’’ trial for the alleged unprofessional conduct.

“The attention of the Osun Commissioner of Police, Johnson Kokumo has been drawn to a video that has gone viral of police officers assaulting a woman in Iwo. The CP condemns in totality, the unprovoked assault on an innocent lady, Abdulazeez Alimat as depicted in the viral video at Odo-Ori market in Iwo by Policemen attached to Iwo Division, on enforcement of COVID-19 lockdown order.

“The commissioner of police has identified, arrested, and detained the erring policemen involved in the unlawful assault. They are Inspector Ikuesan Taiwo with AP/NO. 251724 and PC Abass Ibrahim with F/NO. 509634 respectively,’’ Opalola said.

The viral video had elicited public condemnation and prompt response by the police authority to investigate with the view to serving justice.


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