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7 Feb 2018

Police and Edo Youths Clash Over Killing of Bus Driver by a Policeman

There was pandemonium on Third-East Cirular Road in the Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State as angry youths staged a protest against the alleged killing of a commercial driver by a policeman.

It was gathered that the deceased, David Okoniba, was flagged down by some policemen at about 7am on Tuesday, at the Igun end of the road and ordered to show his vehicle documents.

The 28-year-old father of two from Ewu, in the Esan Central LGA reportedly told the security agents that the documents were in police custody.

It was gathered that one of the policemen allegedly demanded a bribe from him before he would be released.

This was said to have led to an argument between the policeman and the victim.

According to a witness, the policeman, who was later identified as one Inspector Adebisi, allegedly pushed the cab driver to the road where he was crushed to death by a speeding truck.

The witness, who did not want his name in print, said, “My friend (David) told me that he was held by the police. So, I parked my vehicle by the roadside so that we could talk to them.

“I begged the policemen, but he shunned me. His wife cried and begged them to let her husband go.

“Suddenly, one of them pushed him out. He was crushed by a truck. We did not see the policeman again.”

The deceased’s widow, who was pregnant, was said to have been rushed to a hospital after experiencing shock when she saw the lifeless body of her husband.

It was also gathered that the couple had planned to get married next Saturday.

When PUNCH correspondent visited the scene, the protest turned violent and resulted in a clash between the restive youths and some mobile policemen deployed in the scene.

As the policemen fired tear gas canisters to disperse the protesters, the demonstrators surged forward with stones, which they threw at the security personnel.

Subsequent efforts by the security agents to calm the youths proved abortive, as the protesters destroyed some operational vehicles of the police. One of the Hilux vans was also set ablaze.

The development grounded commercial activities on Akpakpava Road and Second Junction, as traders shut their shops to take cover.

Vehicular movement was also halted, leaving commuters and motorists stranded for several hours.

The eldest brother of the deceased, Festus Okoniba, who alleged that the late David was also shot, demanded justice from the police.

He said, “He was stopped by some policemen as early as 7am. They asked him for his vehicle papers and he told them that the papers were with the police.

“They told him to sit in their vehicle. They asked him if he did not know the right thing to do. He brought out N1,000 to give the policeman. The policeman shot and pushed him out. That was when the truck crushed him. All I want is justice,” he added.

The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Johnson Kokumo, said although the victim died in a fatal motor accident, he had ordered the arrest of the policemen allegedly responsible for the accident.

Kokumo said, “About 8am, there was a fatal motor accident and it was alleged that a police patrol team caused the accident. We are going to investigate.

“The restive youths took to the street to protest against the killing of the driver by an articulated vehicle driver.

“I have ordered the arrest of the policemen allegedly involved; a full-scale investigation will be carried out. If the policemen are found culpable in any manner, appropriate punishment would be meted out to them.”

Meanwhile, the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, called for calm and urged the aggrieved parties to allow the law to run its due course.

Obaseki also assured that efforts were on to ensure that those liable for the crime were made to face the law.

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