An unidentified policeman attached to the Delta State Police Command on Friday allegedly shot dead a 29-year-old father-of-one identified only as Gift in Obinomba, Ukwani Local Government Area of the state.
Eyewitnesses who spoke to newsmen said that the man was celebrating his birthday with a few friends at a hotel in Obinomba when the incident occurred.
One of them who gave his name only as Chidi said, “The young man was having his birthday at a hotel along Obinomba and the Police raided the hotel for reasons best known to them. In the course of the raid, an argument ensued between the host and the Police. The young man begged them not to ruin his party. As he made to step out, a policeman with whom he earlier had an argument shot him.
“The young man fell and fainted. He was rushed by the Police to a private hospital in Obiaruku where he was confirmed dead on arrival.”
Another eyewitness who spoke on condition of anonymity told our correspondent that the deceased was a father of a four-month-old baby.
The development made youths in the community protest on Friday and policemen put a barricade at the Sapele-Agbor Expressway.
“The man was a young father of a baby who is not up for four months. We protested last night till about midnight when the council chairman came and calmed the situation.
“He also visited the family of the victim. But the policemen refused to listen to the council chairman’s plea to open the road. They only did so this morning. The Police are fond of this kind of act.
“The policeman who committed the act must be dismissed. We want justice,’’ the eyewitness said.
When contacted, the state Police spokesperson, DSP Bright Edafe, said that the policemen acted in self-defence as he was about to be dispossessed of his rifle by youths in the community.
He added that he was only aware of a cult clash in the area and not a birthday party.
Edafe stated, “It was done in self-defence and I am going to explain what I mean by that.
“At a few minutes past 9 pm on Friday, the Divisional Police Officer of Obiaruku Division got information that there was a cult clash in Obinomba village, Ukwani LGA and that boys from a rival cult group had shot a man dead.
“They (the Police) went there and saw the man in a pool of blood and carried him in their van. On their way to the hospital, they saw some boys, numbering about 50 who gathered outside.
“One of the inspectors alighted and asked them what the problem was. The boys, in their usual manner, accosted the Police Inspector who was bearing an AK-47 rifle and they gagged him, trying to dispossess him of his arms.
“The men who were with him fired and one of the bullets got to a young man in his laps and others fled.
“The Police took both the man who was shot during a cult clash and the injured man to a hospital, but unfortunately, both of them were confirmed dead by the doctors on duty.”