- A 19-year old boy have been allegedly killed in Ebonyi state by a taskforce enforcing the statewide lockdown
- The people of the community where the deceased is from are calling on the federal government to intervene
- The people also lamented that the body of the deceased has not been released to them
The people of Ebiri and Nguzu autonomous community in Nguzu Edda in Afikpo south local government of Ebonyi have called on the federal government to order an investigation into the killing of a 19-year-old boy from the area Chidi Oji Arua.
A member of the family, David Olughu Ibiam who made the call in a statement issued on Friday, April 3, regretted that no arrest had been made, one week after the incident.
Ibiam alleged that the deceased was shot by a government official in the area.
He said that the intervention of the federal government and the international community had become necessary as the body of the slain boy had not been released to the family in spite of official report made to the Nigeria Police Force.
Governor Umahi had ordered a statewide lockdown after the coronavirus outbreak
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David alleged that the government official has refused to release the corpse of the boy after killing him.
“The series of events that brought about the unleashing of the present siege and banditry on Nguzu community started after Gov. David Umahi’s broadcast banning burials, wedding ceremonies and all activities that run contrary to social distancing principle.
“The governor’s broadcast was necessary to stem the spread of COVID-19 pandemic and the Eze-in-Council ensured strict compliance with the directive; a local medium of information adequately disseminated the information and also ensured that no family contravened the directive.
“Little wonder, there was no gathering for burials throughout the length and breadth of the community as families that could not postpone their burials only solemnly and quietly put away their deceased member,” he said.
According to Ibiam, the government official who he said is a local government chairman, constituted his boys into a task force to ensure people comply with the government directive.
Ibiam accused the purported taskforce of abusing the rights of the people which in turn led to the crisis that erupted right inside his compound.
He noted that a good number of Nguzu people sustained an injury from gunshots, while the 19-year-old Chidi Oji was shot dead and carried away by the task force, led by the local government chairman.
Ibiam pleaded with the government to ensure justice was served to deter people from taking the lives people which they never created.
In her reaction, Ebonyi State Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO), DSP Loveth Odah said: “Murder case is not a case that should be reported at a police post but the family might not know. So, let me get in touch with the DPO of the area and find out from him.
“I want to tell you that there is no report on that in my command. It is my mandate to protect lives and property in Ebonyi state, so, if you know the family, or through your news link, please tell them that anybody with such serious matter should not sit at home and wait for us to start asking questions. They should go ahead and report their matter to the police. They should not play when they are claiming that their son’s life has been taken.
“Ebonyi state is not a crime area; when someone’s life is taken we view it seriously because our state is the most peaceful state in our geopolitical zone. Apart from the interstate communal crises, we don’t have a major crisis here. Anyone who takes another person’s life indiscriminately, we will deal with the person according to the law.”
Meanwhile, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has dismissed videos currently circulating on social media of soldiers torturing civilians.
The DHQ in a statement sent to journalists and signed by the coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major-General John Enenche, said the move is a calculated attempt to blackmail the military.
He stated that the videos are misleading and are not related to the present military engagement of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
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