By Benjamin Nworie in Abakaliki
Commercial motorcyclists also known as Okada riders Thursday protested on major streets of Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, following the alleged killing of one of them identified as Nwola Chukwuma by a policeman of the Anti Kidnapping Squad of the state Police Command.
The unidentified police officer on Wednesday night shot and killed the victim for allegedly refusing to give him N50 bribe at Anan World junction by Water Walks road.
The protesters barricaded major streets in the capital city, destroying all seen properties belonging to Nigeria Police Force.
An eyewitness to the incident said the Okada rider in his 20s was carrying a female passenger when he was flagged down by the policemen, who are notorious for extorting money from motorists and motorcyclists at night at the junction.
“When they stopped him, they demanded their usual N50 but he gave them N20 and wanted to drive off when one of them opened fire on him. The bullet shattered his head and he died instantly,” said the eyewitness.
The incident caused pandemonium along the road as residents in the adjourning streets attempted to lynch the officers.
But the arrival of a detachment of police officers to the scene saved the day as the protesters were tear-gassed by the police while also shooting sporadically into the air to scare them away.
Meanwhile, Governor David Umahi has ordered the immediate arrest of the policeman attached to the Ebonyi State Anti Kidnap Squad over the death of the commercial motorcycle operator.
The governor, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, described the incident as barbaric and callous and expressed confidence that justice will be done in the killing of the commercial motorcyclist.
He said the incident has further called for more dedication, commitment and professional training for the country’s security personnel to stop further killings of innocent Nigerians on the line of their duties.
The governor also assured the protesters that he would take the matter to the Inspector General of Police (IG) to ensure that the trigger happy policeman is punished in line with the rule of his engagement.
Umahi warned that his administration would not tolerate any form of killing of innocent citizens or extra judicial killing by the security agencies and ordered the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Titus Lamorde, to arrest the policeman who shot the deceased and other members of the team to face the full weight of the law.
He also called on the public to remain calm as the situation was already under control and never to resort to taking laws into their hands.
However, the state police command has not reacted on the incident.