Posted by By Kingsley Omonobi & Ben Agande on
ALL the five members of the Federal Highway Patrol police team that shot and killed a security aide of Vice President Atiku Abubakar have been arrested on the order of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero.
*Villagers fault Police, say they saw no provocation
ABUJA— ALL the five members of the Federal Highway Patrol police team that shot and killed a security aide of Vice President Atiku Abubakar have been arrested on the order of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero.
Victor Okonkwo, a State Security Service (SSS) operative, was shot during an encounter with the policemen at a checkpoint on the Abuja-Keffi road. He was said to be on his way to Keffi in Nasarawa State to sit for an examination. He drove himself.
The police in Abuja confirmed that he was indeed killed at a check point in Keffi, because he brought out a pistol provocatively. But residents of Uke village where the incident occurred on Saturday told Vanguard they saw no provocation.
Vanguard gathered yesterday that the decision to arrest the five policemen including the team commander was to enable the Force Headquarters investigate the matter.
The IG, sources said, wants to be sure that the claim by the team that the victim was shot because he refused to identity himself, show documents of his unnumbered vehicle, is not a cover up.
Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Haz Iwendi, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, confirmed the arrest. But he would not say whether they would be investigated in Abuja or Nasarawa State.
Villagers fault Police
However, residents of Uke, where Mr. Okonkwo was shot told Vanguard yesterday that they saw no provocation in his encounter with the policemen.
The villagers who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of harrasment by the police said though the security operative was armed and had surrendered his car to the police, he did not threaten to shoot as alleged by the police. The man appealed to the policemen to allow him go for his exams. He even drove to the police station at Uke and left his car, but as he made to go, the policemen insisted that he must leave his service pistol with them.
“At this point, there was an attempt by the police to disposes him of the gun. In fact, an officer told his men to disarm him but he refused to surrender his gun. From nowhere, one police corporal emerged, corked his rifle and fired at point blank. The man slumped and died,” a resident said.
“The man (deceased) identified himself by producing his identity card. The policemen ignored him and insisted that he must be detained. We were all watching and all of a sudden, there was a shot and we were all surprised,” the man said, adding: “At this point, there was a disagreement among members of the police team with their superior officer insisting that he did not order the shooting of the deceased but that he should only be disarmed. The Divisional Police Officer then took the corpse and the policemen to Keffi.”
When Vanguard visited the police station at about 4p.m. Saturday, the Toyota Carina car with number plate Plateau AG58 LGT which the deceased drove was still parked in front of the police station.
The Divisional Police Officer for Uke was not available for comment and none of the policemen on duty was willing to talk.
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