Protest took over Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, as Youths of Umuokoro Umuokpo Village, Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State on Wednesday demonstrated the killing of their kinsman, Onyekachi Nwogu.
Nwogu was reportedly killed by an officer of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Inspector Robinson Otobong Abel, attached to the Akwa Ibom State Command of the Corps in his village, on Tuesday, 8th September.
Nwogu whose village, Umuokoro Umuokpo is located in the boundary between Abia and Akwa-Ibom State, along Aba-Ikot Ekpene Highway, was reportedly killed for trying to control traffic in a blocked village pathway.
Johnson Obinna, a community youth leader said the gruesome manner Nwogu was killed should never be swept under the carpet.
“The major road connecting our community with the neighbouring towns are bad. So, commuters usually pass through village pathways and native compounds.
“This NSCDC officer was coming with their Hilux where they’re guarding some white men who are construction workers.
“On getting to the gate of the native compound, Onyekachi asked them to wait so that Tipper was was already on the line from the other side of the road before them could cross.
“This NSCDC officer picked offence and started arguing. Before you know it, he pulled out his gun and shot Onyekachi on the leg, as if that wasn’t enough right there, he shot him on the stomach and he died there instantly.
“Noticing what they did, they came down and picked his dead body into their van and started running. The youths mobilized and chase after them.
“They’ve already crossed Abia territory until a call was put across to mobile police officers at Akwa-Ibom border who stopped them and got them arrested and handed over to Abia police command,” he said.
Angered by the killing of Nwogu, the Umuokoro Umuokpo Village youths picked his corpse to make their anger known at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Channels-6, Ogbor-Hill Aba.
Approaching the station, a team of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) from Azuka Police Division caused a serious pandemonium by shooting bullets in the air and spraying teargas at the protesters to disperse them.
One of the protesters who gave his name as Praise Tobechukwu, berated SARS at Azuka Division for shooting and spraying teargas at angry people who only wanted the media to know what happened their brother.
“You see how Police always unnecessary provoke people for no reason? What wrong did this people do by bringing this gruesome killing to NTA?
“They’re simply looking for an avenue to provoke people and you can see how they succeeded in adding insult to our injury. There’s no problem. Let’s keep watching. As long as God is alive, no evil person shall go unpunished.
“Police, Army and now NSCDC are killing our people recklessly because our State Government and Governor is too weak to defend his people. In this same village last year, an army officer chased one of our youths to his father’s compound and killed him there. Nobody has heard about that.
“All the government will do is to make noise that there’ll be justice, but they’ll just chicken out. All the people killed during Covid-19 lockdown what had Abia State government under Okezie Ikpeazu done?
“God is watching all of them and posterity will judge. Imagine how SARS want to provoke people and cause more death. All these killings including the Petroleum Attendant that was killed in April all happened inside Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu’s LGA and he has done nothing to show that our lives matter.”
Reacting to the killing, Abia State government through the Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi-Kalu expressed its deepest regrets over the unfortunate incident and condemned the act in totality.
Okiyi-Kalu described attitude of the killer NSCDC officer as apparent act of carelessness and callousness that has led to the loss of yet another precious life under avoidable circumstances.
He extended the government’s sincerest condolences to the family and friends of the late Nwogu and commended the youths of the community, police and army for ensuring prompt arrest of the officer.
“We commend vigilant community youth, men and officers of the Abia State Police Command and those of the Nigeria Army, for ensuring the prompt arrest of the suspect who is now in custody.
“Let us assure the family and friends of the late Mr. Nwogu, and indeed, all Abians, that no stone will be left unturned in ensuring that justice is swiftly done in this matter.
“Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, who is deeply shocked to hear of the killing, expresses his sincerest condolences to the family and friends of the late Nwogu and will soon visit the bereaved family and community to personally convey his sympathy to them.
“We wish to call on the youth of the affected community and others rightly pained by this sad incident not to take the law into their hands and avoid any act capable of provoking further violence or loss of lives as security agents have been fully deployed to maintain the peace and protect all law abiding citizens.”