Policeman Absconds After Shooting Student at Checkpoint over N1000
A policeman attached to the Igbuzo Police Division, in Delta State, identified simply as Sergeant Abua, has absconded after he shot a student of the Delta State Polytechnic, Sofia Ogogo, and a civil servant, Victor Emeagwai, at a checkpoint in the community.
The victims were in a Toyota Corolla, driven by an estate agent, Jerry Akinlabi, when the incident happened. According to the Punch a team of five policemen, including Abua, flagged down Akinlabi at a checkpoint along Igbuzo Market.
One of the policemen, identified as Nwokolo, was said to have demanded money from Akinlabi (the driver), who told him that he did not have N200 to give him. Nwokolo reportedly said he would take one of the N1,000 notes Akinlabi had on him.
As Akinlabi drove off from the checkpoint, Abua reportedly shot at the car and bullets pierced the back of the vehicle, injuring Ogogo, who was sitting in the back seat. The bullet also grazed the back of Emeagwai, who was in the passenger seat.
Akinlabi said that four police officers, including the team leader, one ASP Akhabue, were detained by the police, while Abua evaded arrest and is currently on the run.
“One of them (policemen) used his gun to hit the (car) boot and I reversed. He said I wanted to beat the checkpoint. I told him that I assumed that they knew me very well and apologised. He demanded money. I wanted to give him N100 or N200, but it was N1,000 notes I had on me and I explained to him.
“A bullet pierced into the car, hit my girlfriend’s body, came out and hit my friend in the back.”
He took the victims to a general hospital in Igbuzo, from where Ogogo was referred to the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba.
Akinlabi later called a senior police officer at Asaba who notified the state Commissioner of Police about the incident.
He said, the police commissioner and the DPO of the Igbuzo Police Station came to the FMC and deposited N100,000, but that is much less than he has spent so far.
Akinlabi explained that a police officer asked him to drop his car key to aid investigation. He added that he handed over the car key, but activated the steering lock because he suspected foul play.
True to his suspicion by the time he went back to pick his car the police had tried to hide the evidence of the shooting.
“The policeman sent from Zone 5 invited my friend to the police headquarters in Asaba to write his statement too. When he got there, he saw some policemen moving the car. He called to ask me if I gave them the key to unlock the steering and I said no. When I called the IPO, he confirmed what my friend said and he told me that there was no cause for alarm.”
He said the command returned his car washed, with the bullet holes on the vehicle covered and painted. He also lamented that he was yet to hear from the command and zone 5.
Ogogo the female victim, who spoke from the hospital, informed journalists that she had been on a telephone call when the bullet hit her. That was her last recollection when she found herself in hospital.
Meanwhile, a rights group, Behind Bars, coordinated by Harrison Gwamnishu has said they want to pursue the case further:
“We want to charge the case to court as a civil matter. It is barbaric. Why did the police wash the bloodstains in the car and covered the bullet holes without the consent of the owner?” Gwamnishu said.
The Delta State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Andrew Aniamaka, when contacted gave assurances that the erring officer would be brought to book if found guilty.
“The case is being investigated. However, our utmost concern is that the injured victim gets proper treatment. The Area Commander and the DPO of the division in question are involved in the matter.
“The case is being investigated by Zone 5. Where somebody is absent from duty for 21 days without any reason, we declare such a person a deserter. So, there is no anxiety that the policeman is on the run. Rest assured that the right thing will be done,” He said