Protest, controversy trail killing of birthday celebrant in Delta

A massive protest and controversy, on Saturday, trailed the alleged extrajudicial killing of a birthday celebrant, identified as Gift, by a trigger-happy police operative at Obinomba area of Umukwata kingdom in Ukwuani Local Government Area of Delta State.

The 29-year-old was murdered in cold blood about 10:30 pm on Friday by yet-to-be-identified armed policemen who, sources said, stormed a popular bar at Obinomba community, the venue of the deceased’s birthday.

Tribune Online gathered that the police operatives, on arriving at the bar, shot sporadically in the air while one of them shot directly at the celebrant.

It could not be ascertained if incriminating items were found on the celebrant and his friends or if they were suspected to be cultists that led to the ‘invasion’ and extrajudicial killing of Gift.

Sources, however, volunteered that, after being shot, Gift, whose wife just put to bed three months ago, was rushed to Dominion Medical Center in Obiaruku where doctors confirmed him dead having lost much blood.

“Some of the boys that were there with him said the policemen just drove down without interrogating anybody.

“They started shooting into the air and then aimed at the boy, shot him. They allowed him to bleed to death.

“When did notice that the young man was bleeding and gasping for air, they immediately rushed him to Dominion Medical Center here in Obiaruku but on arrival, the guy was confirmed dead and then they dropped him and zoomed off,” a source told journalists on Saturday.

In a gory video circulated online by Ukwuani Trumpet, the outfit, in its voice-over, proclaimed: “Here are the bloodstains in the scene where the young boy by the name, Gift was allegedly killed a moment ago in Obinomba, Delta State by an undisclosed Nigeria Police officer.

“According to the information in our disposal, Gift was celebrating his birthday at a popular beer parlour in Obinomba before he was shot to death. We are yet to know the reason (s) why he was shot.”

Meanwhile, angered by the unprovoked killing, residents of the agrarian Obiaruku community embarked on a massive protest, inhibiting vehicular movement at the Obiaruku section of the ever-busy Sapele/Abraka-Agbor expressway, demanding justice.

The protesters, consisting of youths, women, and children, who barricaded the road with planks and woods amid solidarity chants, demanded the arrest and prosecution of the trigger-happy cops without delay.

Reacting to the alleged culpability of police operatives in the murder of Gift, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Bright Edafe, who was contacted by our reporter, gave a different version of what transpired, insinuating that the deceased was killed by cultists.

In a hurriedly pieced response on WhatsApp, DSP Edafe narrated that: “We received a distressed call on 24th September, 2021, at about 21:15hs that Eiye and Aiye cult groups were having a clash and that one boy (name unknown) has been shot.

“So, the DPO led his men to the scene and recovered the body. On their way to the hospital, they met a group of suspected cultists numbering about 50.

“The policemen, in a bid to find out why they were gathered, some of them then rushed at the inspector and were struggling with the AK47 rifle on him.

“One of his (police) colleagues, while trying to save the situation, shot one of them (name unknown) in his leg, then others ran away.

“The boy and the other person, earlier shot by a rival cult group, were taken to the hospital, where they were later confirmed dead, this is the true position.”

As of the time of filing the report, troops from the Nigerian Army had been deployed to Obiaruku and Obinomba areas of Ukwuani LGA to avert a likely repeat of the #ENDSARS saga of 2020.

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