The World Human Rights Day was marked in atmosphere of tension in Port Harcourt, Rivers State Thursday as a policeman shot dead a Keke rider over alleged N100 checkpoint extortion.
Two more persons were feared killed as police, joined by vigilante repelled an angry mob’s attempt to torch the Rumuokoro Police Divisional Office whose personnel was said to have killed the tricycle rider.
Police Public Relations Officer, Rivers Command, Nnamdi Omoni, said the officer who shot the victim has been arrested as the police made frantic efforts at easing tension generated by the development.
The victim popularly known as School Boy was shot at Elukpokpodu Road at Rukpokwu, a link to popular SARS Road, Obio Akpor Local Government Area (LGA), Port Harcourt.
An eyewitness, Beniah Emmanuel, narrated, “Around 6am this morning, School Boy with a woman passenger in his Keke had stopped at the spot to look for change when the patrol team stopped him.
“They asked for N100. The guy said he was only just coming out this morning. They then moved to impound his keke and then started hitting him in a scuffle. That was when one the policemen shot him dead.”
In the spontaneous street protest that followed, disrupting traffic on the Rumuokoro – Rumukpokwu Road, yet unconfirmed reports had it that two more persons were shot dead, two others injured as police repelled attempted mob invasion to burn down the Rumuokoro Police Divisional Office.
Emmanuel who followed through the fatal drama further narrated, “They (protesters) brought with them corpse of police slain School Boy. They were able to torch the gate house at the station as policemen on guard initially took to their heels.
“But there was swift reinforcement of mobile policemen, vigilante (Ospac) in the area and some army who came in later. The security forces started shooting and teargassing to disperse the mob.
“So the total killing today could be three. The police shot them all. And the area remains tense. Police and Ospac have shut that axis of the Rumuokoro Express to traffic.”
It’s so disappointing -Activist
Meanwhile, Coordinator of rights group, Center For Basic Rights, Prince Wiro has expressed disappointment at Police for displaying such level of violence on a day the world marks Human Rights Day.
Wiro said, “We call for a thorough investigation into the the shooting to death of a tricycle with a view to bringing the perpetrator to book.
“It is highly regrettable that the life of another Nigerian Youth was cut short on a World Human Rights Day.
The killing of the tricycle driver by a Police Officer violates the right to life of the deceased.”