By David-Chyddy Eleke
Irate youths, consisting mostly of commercial motorcyclists, yesterday allegedly burnt down Igboukwu Police Station in Aguata Local Government Area in Anambra State over the alleged shooting of one of their members by a policeman.
THISDAY gathered that some police officers on night duty last Tuesday had impounded motorcycles belonging to commercial operators for violating the law in the state which restricts them from operating after 9p.m.
The motorcycle operators, popularly known as Okada, it was gathered, mobilised their members to protest against the impounding of their motorcycles, but the altercation between them and the police led to one of the policemen allegedly shooting a youthful man.
“Though we did not immediately ascertain if the young man died, immediately the shooting happened, the youths mobilised to their police station and burnt it down,” a source said.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Haruna Mohammed, confirmed that the station was burnt, but failed to state if the young man died after he was shot. He attributed the shooting to accidental discharge.
According to him, “There was an altercation between police operatives and motorcycle riders over some impounded motorcycles as a result of the recent restriction on movement of motorcycles beyond 9 p.m. in the state.
“The situation degenerated into a chaos, which led to an accidental discharge that hit one motorcycle rider, leading to the burning of Igboukwu Police Station by irate youths.”
He stated that the state Commissioner of Police, CP John Abang, is deeply saddened by the unfortunate incident, and has ordered for the detention of the policemen involved as well as a full scale investigation into the matter.
Mohammed added that the CP has appealed for calm, and assured the public that justice would be done in the case, and the outcome of police investigation shall be made public in due course.
The state Governor, Willie Obiano, has also condemned the burning down of the police station by the commercial motorcyclists over the killing of their members by a police officer.
The governor described as unfortunate the killing of the commercial motorcyclist by a policeman, added however that there was no reason for them to take the laws into their hands.
Obiano, who spoke to the state owned-broadcast station, Anambra Broadcasting Service, said: “Burning of police stations, vehicles and destruction of property are not the way to resolve the issue.
“I want to assure Anambra people and residents of the state that the policeman responsible has been taken into custody. The government will assist the family of the deceased and provide them with the necessary emotional and financial support.”