A 33-year old man and member of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra was yesterday shot dead when the police clashed with members of MASSOB on Oguta Road, Onitsha, in Onitsha North Local Government Area of Anambra State.
An eyewitness, who did not want his name in print, said the deceased was shot dead by a team of policemen on patrol on the route which commercial motorcycle and tricycle operators were prohibited from plying by the state government.
According to him, when the policemen tried to arrest the deceased, he struggled with one of the police officers. In the process, the officer’s AK 47 gun went off and a bullet hit the Okada rider. He died instantly. He said the policeman, after killing the Okada rider, started shooting into the air to scare people so that he could escape.
A stray bullet also caught and injured another passerby, he added. A dependable police source at the Inland Police Station confirmed the incident but gave another version of the story. He said MASSOB members who were returning from their meeting confronted a police team on patrol on their way to buy fuel at a filling station along the road.
The source said the MASSOB members numbering about 50 attacked the policemen. he alled that the deceased wanted to snatch rifle from one of the policemen and in the process it went off, killing the motorcyclist and injuring some other people nearby.
The source said that MASSOB members in the process injured two of the police officers who are now receiving treatment at Multicare Hospital along Limca Road, Onitsha while the body of the deceased has been deposited at the Onitsha General Hospital mortuary.
When contacted on telephone, the Area Commander, Onitsha Police Area Command, ACP Philip Ezekiel, told our correspondent that he was not on seat. He said the Divisional Police Officer, Central Police Station, Isa Mohammed, is handling the matter.
Meanwhile, members of the Motorcycle Transport Union have threatened to hold a public protest in Onitsha over the incident.
According to them, this is not the first time a policeman in Onitsha would kill their members without reason. They alleged that another cyclist was shot dead by the police yesterday in front of the Christ The King College (CKC) Onitsha because of the same offence.