Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
Abia Police Command yesterday confirmed the arrest of Inspector Stanley Azuh attached to Ohuru-Ishimiri Police Division at Ogbor-Hill, Aba, for allegedly killing Mr. Chibuisi Godwin.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the incident happened in Ogbor-Hill, along New Umuahia road in Aba on Sunday evening.
A police source, who did not want his name in print, said that Godwin was shot while Azuh was enforcing Abia Government’s ‘Stay-at-home’ directive, meant to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
He said that Azuh, who was attempting to stop a vehicle that violated the lockdown order, had mistakenly touched his riffle’s trigger, releasing the bullet that hit Godwin, who later died in the hospital.
Abia State Police Commissioner, Mr. Ene Okon, while confirming the arrest of the officer said that the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) has taken over the matter.
Okon said that the police as an institution do not take such careless attitude to human life lightly.
“That police Inspector was arrested immediately and detained, as I am talking to you, SCID has taken over the matter and they are investigating the police inspector for murder.
“We have our rules of engagement, we have our standards of operation and procedures and we have our own Force Order 237 as reviewed.
“That order has to do with when a police officer has to use his firearm and it will be justified. It’s not an excuse for you to say accidental discharge.
“A trained officer on such assignment should put his riffle on safety mode; the riffle has a safety mode and once you put it there, it will not just release anyhow.
“So, it is not an excuse that he mistakenly touched the trigger. That’s why we detained him and are seriously investigating the whole matter”, Okon said.
NAN gathered that the late Godwin was a staff of Greenmac Energy Limited, a petroleum company that deals on fuel and Kerosene in Ogbor-Hill, Aba.
The deceased was believed to have come out for work as usual, as his line of business was among those classified as essential services, and not restricted by the lockdown order, when he met his death
An eye witness, Dr. Cyril Irobi, told THISDAY that the customer had driven into the filling station on Sunday afternoon and bought fuel but was stopped on his way out by a police patrol team.
He said that the fuel attendant apparently sensing that their customer could be in trouble went to plead with the police not to arrest the customer because he is diabetic and had come out to get his drugs.
“The fuel attendant was pleading with the police to leave the man alone and a gun shot rang out,” the eye witness said.
The trigger-happy police officer was identified as Inspector Stanley Asu and the leader of the patrol team from Ohuru Isimiri Police Station.
The eye witness alleged that soldiers stopped the police team from fleeing the scene of the incident.