2023 GOVERNORSHIP AND
STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS
Enugu: Nigerian Army accused of shooting, killing vigilante group operative, wife
The community is the hometown of the Director General of Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu, and the immediate past Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.
The group, Eke Security Neighbourhood Vigilante Watch, said the victim, Ebuka Oke, was killed alongside his wife by the troop.
It said the soldiers, who also inflicted gunshot injuries on three others, were from the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army in the state.
One of the victims and the Assistant Chief Security Officer of the vigilante group, Emeka Anigbo, disclosed this to reporters on Sunday.
Mr Anigbo said the incident happened on Thursday when some of the vigilante members went to felicitate their colleagues who were being inaugurated as new members of the group.
Some residents told reporters that the incident had caused tension in the community, adding that Mr Oke lost his father exactly one month ago and was yet to recover from the incident before the latest development.
They condemned the “unprofessional conducts” of the soldiers, describing it as “barbaric and callous”, just as they called for an investigation into the incident.
‘How it happened’
Mr Anigbo, who also sustained gunshot injuries, told the reporters that they received a distress call while at Ninth Mile Corner, where the inauguration of the new members was held.
The security officer said on receiving the call, they abandoned their food and drinks and quickly drove out to confront suspected armed robbers but could not get to the scene with their vehicle because of heavy gridlock caused by the blockage of the road.
He said they decided to park their vehicle along the road and started moving towards the place, but on approaching the scene, three armed soldiers ordered them to stop.
He said they obeyed the soldiers and stopped, informing them they were neighbourhood vigilante watch guards. The soldiers asked them to keep coming forward.
“On approaching the soldiers, they started firing at us, killing one of our members and the wife of one of those who were inaugurated at the Ninth Mile, who was on a motorcycle with her husband going back to Eke.
“Despite the fact that we were in our full security uniform and had identified ourselves, the trigger-happy soldiers opened fire on us at a very close range, killing Oke, and his wife,” Mr Anigbo said.
Continuing, he said, “While I was on the ground, one of the soldiers, notwithstanding seeing my identity card and my uniform, kept matching on my chest, saying, ‘I will kill you.’
“In fact, it was the timely arrival of police operatives from Ninth Mile Corner that saved my life. It was the police that stopped the soldiers, confirming that we are Eke Neighbourhood Security Guards.”
Another victim, Chinedu Okolo, whose male organ was allegedly affected by the soldiers’ bullets, was unable to speak to reporters because of pains.
The third victim, Obinna Offor, was in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
When contacted on Monday, the spokesperson of the Division, Jonah Unuakhalu, described the claims as “untrue.”
Mr Unuakhalu, a colonel, said information available to the army division showed that the deceased woman was killed by a stray bullet from armed hoodlums who engaged the soldiers in a shoot-out.
The spokesperson said the troops received a distress call that some hoodlums were operating along Eke Road, and on sighting them at the scene, the hoodlums opened fire on them.
He added that the soldiers overpowered them, leading to the arrest of one of them and recovering of two pump action guns and some live bullets while some of them ran into a nearby bush.
Mr Unuakhalu said he had no information regarding the alleged killing of Mr Oke, the vigilante operative, maintaining that it was during the shootout between the troops and the hoodlums that a stray bullet hit the woman.
“So, there is no iota of truth in the information being peddled around that it was soldiers that killed the deceased (woman). Our men only rushed to the scene to salvage the situation after receiving a distress call,” he insisted.
The spokesperson regretted the woman’s death, saying she would have been in the best position to narrate exactly what happened, if she had survived the stray bullet.
“The Division is going to carry out proper investigation on the incident, so as to unravel what actually transpired,” he added.
The police spokesperson in Enugu State, Daniel Ndukwe, did not respond to calls and messages seeking his comments.
Contents provided and/or opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of The Pacesetter Frontier Magazine or any employee thereof.
Support The Pacesetter Frontier Magazine
It takes a lot to get credible, true and reliable stories.
As a privately owned media outfit, we believe in setting the pace and leaving strides in time.
If you like what we do, you can donate a token to us here. Your support will ensure that the right news is put out there at all times, reaching an unlimited number of persons at no cost to them.