Reacting to the killing of a motorist, Joseph Pessu by a soldier in Warri, Delta State on Thursday, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN), has condemned the action of the military officer.
Keyamo described the incident as barbaric in a statement posted on his official Twitter handle.
The minister promised to petition the relevant authorities to investigate the matter.
The statement read, “I condemn the killing of innocent person(s) in Warri by soldiers enforcing the COVID-19 lockdown.
“I have received disturbing reports and images of the high-handedness and shooting of innocent citizens by men of the armed forces deployed to enforce the COVID-19 lockdown in my state, Delta.
“Specifically, I have received reports of the killing of an innocent young man, Mr Joseph Pessu, in Warri. I unreservedly condemn this barbaric act by men of the armed forces, who should exercise restraint when dealing with the civilian populace.
“I am appealing to the youth and Deltans in general to obey the sit-at-home order by the state government in a bid to contain the spread of the pandemic coronavirus.
“I will be forwarding a petition to the relevant authorities to thoroughly investigate this murder and bring the officer(s) to justice. In the interim, let us not take the law into our own hands, please.
“I will also use this medium to sincerely appeal to my brothers and sisters in Delta State to be law-abiding and obey the orders of restriction imposed by both the Delta State Government and the Federal Government. They are lawful orders and they are for our own good.
“Images and reports of attacks on law enforcement agents by the civilian populace do not help our cause. I call on all and sundry in the entire country too to exercise utmost restraint at this point.”
Meanwhile, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, has condemned Pessu’s killing.
Omo-Agege called for the arrest and prosecution of the trigger-happy soldiers, noting that the authorities must ensure that the law took its course.
A statement on Thursday said Omo-Agege spoke directly with the army and police authorities in the state, while calling on residents of the state not to take the law into their own hands.
He was quoted to have said, “I condemn in strong terms the extrajudicial killing of Joseph Pessu by men of the Nigerian Army. I call on the army authorities to fish out the culprit or culprits and hand them over to the police for prosecution.
“Those who are authorised to bear arms in defence of the nation ought to understand that this comes with responsibility, especially as human life is sacrosanct. The killing in Warri today (Thursday) is one too many as the issue shouldn’t have led to what, in my opinion, amounted to extrajudicial killing of yet another future hope of this country.
“I have heard that the army arrested the soldier that shot the deceased. It is my belief that thorough investigations will be carried out and adequate punishment will be meted out to those involved in the heinous crime.
“Yes, we are in strange times and nerves are high with all the issues surrounding the coronavirus lockdown in the country. Be that as it may, there are better ways of making Nigerians obey the government’s directives without the resort to violence or extrajudicial killings by law enforcement agents.”