By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Government yesterday condemned the shooting of at least three persons in the state by officers of the police command, describing the killings as barbaric.
In separate incidents in the last few weeks, 17-year-old Innocent Kokorifa, four-year-old Godsgift Odoki and a man identified simply as Anayo, aged 30, had been shot dead by the police in the state during purported search for suspected criminals.
But in a statement issued on behalf of the Bayelsa State Government by the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Jonathan Obuebite, the government called on the hierarchy of the police in Nigeria to take professionalism and training more seriously.
The government called for a thorough investigation into the killings and urged the federal authorities to ensure that the deaths were not swept under the carpet.
“Following the alleged killing of four-year-old Godsgift Odoki by some policemen in Bayelsa, the state government calls on the Commissioner of Police to read the riot act to his men to be more professional in their line of duty.
“Odoki was allegedly shot dead by members of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the state police command on October 22 alongside another victim during a clash between the police and a gang of cultists around the Ekeki area of the state capital Yenagoa.
“The killing are senseless, barbaric and becoming too frequent, just as we recall the recent one that claimed a 17-year-old who was buried last week,” the government said.
The statement added, “The way and manner defenceless citizens are caught in the crossfire by police officers tell a lot about the need to up their professional attitude towards their job and we equally call for an investigation into the matter”
The government urged the police boss to that ensure a similar incident does not repeat itself in the future and thanked those who took part in last week’s peaceful protest for conducting themselves in a very orderly manner.
“We commend them for not disrupting the peace of the state despite the vexed issue”, the government noted, while commiserating with the bereaved family.
“We urge them to take solace in the fact the God knows all and assure them of the government’s sincere commitment to ensuring they get justice,” it said.