There was palpable fear and tension in Igboukwu and Ekwulobia communities in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State following the alleged killing of two commercial motorcycle operators popularly known as okada by the police.
It was gathered that the first victim was killed on Tuesday night at a police checkpoint in Igboukwu while the second was killed by the police at Ekwulobia Police Station when angry protesters besieged the police station on Wednesday.
Trouble started when the murdered okada man who is said to hail from Ebonyi State allegedly refused to give N50 bribe to the policemen who mounted a road block on that road.
According to sources, policemen attached to the Igboukwu station were allegedly in the habit of extorting commercial drivers and motorcyclists plying that road.
Angered by the ugly development, okada riders in Ekwulobia and Igboukwu teamed up to protest the killing. Daily Sun gathered that when they got to Ekwulobia police station, policemen opened fire on them, killing one in the process.
Some of the protesters, according to eyewitnesses, sustained varying degrees of gunshot injuries.
It was gathered that these two incidents infuriated the protesters who in turn set the police stations on fire. Igboukwu police station was equally burnt while police officers in these stations fled.
One the sources narrated thus: “It started last night. Policemen shot and killed an okada man. They later carried his corpse and dropped it at Nkwo Market in Igboukwu.
“Everybody knew that they were the ones that killed the man. Some people witnessed the incident. So, this morning everybody came out and started protesting.
“They went to the police station and set it ablaze. After that, they carried their motorcycles and headed to Ekwulobia. When they got there, policemen opened fire on them and killed one person. Some persons also got gunshot injuries.
“The police officers all ran away afterwards. The protesters gained entrance and set the police station ablaze. They now carried that person killed by police using Keke NAPEP.
“They proceeded to Oko community. I don’t know whether they burnt that one or not but some people said that they set that one ablaze too. But I learnt that they proceeded to SARS office at Ula Ekwulobia and set that one ablaze too. Some vehicles in these police stations were also burnt.”
Reacting to the development, Police Public Relations Officer in the state, SP Haruna Mohammed, in a statement, said that the Commissioner of Police, CP John Abang, had ordered for the detention of the policemen in Igboukwu who partook in the alleged incident.
“The Commissioner of Police, CP John Abang, is deeply saddened by the unfortunate incident and has ordered for detention of the policemen involved and full scale investigation into the matter.
“The CP further appeals for calm and assures the public that justice would be done in the case and the outcome of police investigation shall be made public in due course”, the statement partly read.