There was pandemonium in Rupoku and Romokoro in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State yesterday as a trigger-happy policeman killed a commercial tricycle operator popularly known as Keke Marwa for failing to pay N100 bribe.
It was gathered that the Keke rider was on his way to pick passengers around 6:00 a.m. when a police officer at Rupoku/Romokoro checkpoint demanded N100 for clearance, but the deceased said he had no money on him as he just came out for the day’s business.
His refusal, according to an eyewitness at the scene got the police officer infuriated and he shot the Keke rider thrice on his forehead, leading to his instant death.
Pointloaded gathered that as news of the rider’s death filtered into the community, angry youths from Ropoku, Rumodumanya, and Romokoro, mobilized against police officers in the area.
In a swift action to disperse the crowd, police operatives started shooting sporadically. One person was, however, hit by a stray bullet and he died on the spot, while another victim, an artisan at Romokoro makeshift market, who went to witness the incident, was shot on the leg by the policemen.
Youths protesting the incidents blocked the Rukpoku axis of the Port Harcourt International Airport and demanded the killer be released to them. They wanted to avenge the death of the victim by burning the police station of the killer policeman, but the heavy deployment of policemen in the affected area quelled the protest and dispersed the crowd.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed the incident, saying the command was aware of the killing of the Keke rider by one of their officers.
Omoni described the incident as very sad, disclosing that the Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukan, has ordered the arrest of the officer.
Omoni said: “I am aware of the incident at Rukpoku. One of our men killed a Keke rider this morning. The policeman has been disarmed and he is detained now. We have mobilised our men in the area to restore calm and contain a further breakdown of law and order.
“We are pleading for calm to allow us to bring him to justice. Two wrongs can never make a right. The Keke rider has died and the man who killed him must receive his punishment. Killing a policeman or burning down a station cannot bring him back to life or give him justice, instead, it will deteriorate the situation.
“The command is seriously investigating the incidents and would update the public later but I assure you that anyone found culpable would be brought to book.”