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Ijaw youths cry for justice over slain footballer

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Members of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Lagos State chapter have called on the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to order the re-arrest of a murder suspect, Olugbenga James, who was reportedly discharged by a Lagos State Magistrate Court through what was alleged to be a conspiracy between some police officers at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti and the judiciary.

Addressing newsmen in Lagos at the weekend at a rally by the Ijaw youths who were protesting against the illegal discharge of James by Magistrate Court 1, Sabo, Yaba on May 5, the IYC chairman, Comrade Henry Oyobolo, said the alleged suspect, who is the chairman, Landlords Association at Victory Estate, Iba, Lagos, reportedly shot 23-year-old Steven Duobra Legbe, a popular footballer of Ijaw extraction in the area, at night on April 18, 2020.

The IYC chieftain, who was at the event with the deceased father, Benson Legbe, their family lawyer, Paul Kurekure, eyewitnesses at the scene of the incident, and many others, gave a narration of the incident and wondered why the young man, who was already getting set to travel to Europe to pursue a career in football, could be murdered gruesomely without a reasonable cause.

The IYC chairman, speaking on behalf of the family, said Legbe had gone out on the night of April 18 within Victory Estate when he was accosted by James and some other residents who were reportedly on vigilance activities. According to them, Steven Legbe was well known in the estate as he was said to have a friendly personality and outspoken disposition.

For some reasons yet to be fully established, James was said to have threatened Legbe on that same night, vowing to kill him.

According to two eyewitnesses who attended the rally, the threat had come as a surprise since there was no known misunderstanding between the chairman and the young footballer. James, who was said to be a ‘terror’ to most residents of the area as he often paraded himself as a former military officer, while threatening Legbe few hours before he was eventually shot to death, had boasted that he would kill the footballer and nothing would happen.

At about 4:00 a.m., same April 18, James was said to have gotten hold of the young man during vigilance activities and hit Legbe’s head with a helmet. As the footballer forcefully extricated himself from the clutches of James and made effort to walk away, the chairman reportedly snatched a gun from one of the vigilance men and shot Legbe in the chest.

Efforts to reach James on his telephone lines with a view to hearing from him after the press conference were futile as both numbers of his were switched off.


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