3 Feared Dead Over Alleged Police Extortion, Stray Bullets

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Three policemen dismissed from the Lagos State Command over misuse of firearms

By; RALPH OKHIRIA, Benin City

Three persons including a tax driver were feared dead on Tuesday morning in Benin City during a fatal accident reportedly caused by a Policeman attached to patrol team on Murtala Mohammed Way by Igun junction in the state capital.

The tragedy struck when an undentified  policeman attached to  Esigie Police Division of the Nigeria Police, Edo State Command reportedly pushed a cab driver with registration number AFZ 846 HW towards a truck laden with petrol coming from the opposite direction.

It was alleged that the failure of the 28-year-old present an up-to-date papers of his vehicle to the team of policemen who were on a routine stop-and-search.

An argument was said to have ensued between a policeman and the driver after the security operatives rejected N150.00 as bribe handed to them by the deceased.

But the policeman was beaten and left for death in the ensuing fracas; while  unidentified two persons were also reportedly killed by stray bullet around Dawson road in Benin City.

A witness and fiancée of the deceased who identified herself as Ruth Okojie said: “as the hot argument rages, I reached out for my bag to give the policemen N1,000 because we were rushing somewhere.

“But before I knew it, a policeman pushed my fiancé into an oncoming petrol tanker which crushed him to dead and we have scheduled our wedding for next Saturday”.

The development later turned violent as angry youths threw stones at the policemen to protest their displeasure over the incident.

The protest caused heavy gridlock on the ever busy Murtala Muhammed Way and other all the adjourning roads including Akpakpava, New Lagos road, Dawson and 2nd East Circular road in Benin City.

Commuters and Pedestrians had to manoeuvre to their destinations through alternatives routes.

Three police operational vehicles and another van belonging to Edo state Traffic Management Agency (EDSTMA) were set ablaze by the rampaging youths, causing gridlock for several hours.

Reports said security operatives had fought back by firing tear gas canisters and gunshots into the air before they took to their heels to avoid been lynched by angry mob before teams of Police reinforcement and the Nigerian Army were deployed to the area to restore normalcy.

The State Commissioner of Police,  Mr. Johnson Kokumo confirmed the development to journalists at the Benin Central Hospital Morgue where the remains of the victims were deposited.

Kokumo said he has ordered  the arrest of  policemen involved in the accident, adding, that the command would commence full scale investigation of the incident.

According to him, any policeman found culpable would be dismissed from the force and prosecuted.

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