The residents of Njaba local government area of Imo State have been engulfed by state of uncertainty following an extreme tensed atmosphere caused by the gruesome murder of an 18-year-old boy, Awuzie Duru by a trigger happy police officer.
The incident, which happened on December 1 2019, took place inside the premises of a new generation bank branch at Umuaka.
According and eye witness who simply said his name is Kelvin, the boy was shot for retaliating a slap from the policeman, whose identity is still shrouded in secrecy.
NewsTrack’s checks revealed that the victim whose name was given as Awuzie (aka Aboy) hailed from Isiozi Aka in the town, had gone to the bank to withdraw money from the bank’s ATM gallery, little did he know that he would not return to his parents in life.
He said since the incident, the community has not remained the same as the youths have vowed to avenge his death if nothing meaningful is done to appease the family of the deceased and accord the shooter a commensurate punishment.
However according to the Nation account of an eye witness who spoke to The Nation,
“They were on the queue when his (Awuzie’s) phone rang, he stepped out of the line to answer the call. When he can back the other person behind him took his position on the queue and tried to stop him from joining the queue again.
“This action was happening in the presence of this killer policeman and caused hot exchange of words between Awuzie and the guy that took his position on the queue while the policeman was there watching.
“The exchange of words between the two degenerated to fighting and in the process, the policeman who has been watching the scene came and started scolding Awuzie who was trying to maintain his position after answering his call.
“The boy told him, ‘you were here watching while we were exchanging words. Why scolding me now it has led to fighting?’ The policeman slapped him and the boy retaliated. In the process, the policeman cocked his gun and shot the boy, who died instantly”
The death of the boy, it was gathered, has stirred up tension in the town as the youths in the area are said to be planning an attack on the police station.
According to village sources, the youths had mobilised to attack the police station when some elders appealed to them to allow the police hierarchy handle the matter.
An elder in the area said: “I can tell you that the boys were not happy with the matter is that policeman killed the boy over an altercation. So, they had mobilised to burn down the station to show their anger and loss.
“But, some of us had to intervene because this kind of thing has happened here before about 15 years ago when some policemen caused the death of some people in Umuaka here and our youths burned down the police station. So we don’t want this kind of thing to happen anymore.
“Some of them are still planning to launch an attack but we’re still appealing to them”.
The state police commissioner, Rabiu Ladodo confirmed the incident, saying the command was doing everything possible to contain any further crisis that might arise from the incident.
Ladodo, who disclosed that the killer policeman had been arrested, said appropriate punishment would be meted out to him if he was found guilty.
The CP said “Yes, I’m aware that the youths mobilised to the police station, but I told my men that we must handle the matter community policing and professionally too. That’s why when the villagers came, we allowed them to express their grievance and we addressed the matter. We were very professional in handling the matter”.