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Abuja: How police officer shot businessman dead over scuffle with Okada rider in Kubwa

The family, friends, relatives and business associates of an Abuja trader, Onyebuchi Anene have lamented the gruesome killing of the Anambra businessman by a police officer.

Onyebuchi, from the information gathered by DAILY POST, was murdered few metres away from his residence in an Estate located at Byazhin, along Arab Road, Kubwa, Abuja, at about 10:30 pm on Wednesday, May 22, 2024 on his way home.

Onyebuchi, simply called Onyi by his friends, is a trader who does his business in the Jabi district, Abuja.

DAILY POST gathered that the day he met his untimely death, Onyebuchi was returning home from his business and was already close to the gate of the estate, where he resides with his wife and two daughters.

Eyewitnesses in the area narrated to DAILY POST that the businessman had an altercation with a commercial motorcyclist, also known as Okada, at a junction leading to the entrance to his residence.

It was said that after a few minutes of argument, Onyi and the bike man came to terms, settled their differences and were about to leave the scene, when a police van arrived.

Both men were said to have informed the policemen of what happened and also told them that the matter had been resolved between them. However, the policemen insisted on taking them to the station.

The okada rider, who had a passenger waiting for him, was said to have swiftly dismissed the policemen, telling them he had no business going to the station and started his motorcycle and zoomed off with the passenger.

However, DAILY POST understands that the police insisted on taking Onyi to the station and on their van too.

Onyi, according to eyewitnesses, was puzzled and demanded to know why the police wanted him at the station while the okada man was allowed to go.

He also questioned the purpose of going to the station since he had settled amicably with the motorcycle rider.

And when he agreed to follow them to the station, he asked them to allow him to wind up his glasses which were all wound down but the police refused. They were said to have also refused to allow him to follow them riding on his Mercedes Benz.

As they argued, the driver of the police van, who hadn’t been in the picture all this while, according to residents, came out from a vehicle bearing a teargas gun which shot directly on the trader’s forehead at a very close range with the canister piercing through his nose.

Doctors confirmed him dead at about 8 am on Thursday morning at the National Hospital Abuja. He left behind his wife and two daughters.

Ogochukwu Onyebuchi, wife of the deceased, told DAILY POST her story.

“On that fateful day, I spoke with my husband around 8 pm. He told me that he was on his way back. But around 10:45, my neighbour came knocking on my door, calling me to open the door, when I opened the door, the whole estate was outside.

“And I saw them washing my husband’s car. And I asked ‘where’s my husband?’ And they told me to calm down and that they were going to take me to where my husband is. When I insisted, they said I should calm down, that my husband was alive.

“They said they were taking me to the National Hospital. Even while we were on our way to the hospital, nobody told me what happened. When we got to the National Hospital, I saw my husband struggling for his life. He couldn’t breathe.

“His tongue was coming out. But he recognised my voice. Immediately I called him ‘baby, I don’t know what happened but be strong for me, be strong for my children’. He gave me signs that he was strong but he was struggling with his life.

“The doctor told us to go out because they wanted to attend to him, but after an hour, the doctor called me to say that my husband’s brain was blocked for the past one hour but they don’t know what happened, that it started working again.

“He told us to pray. After 30 minutes, they said they were going to do an X-ray. After the X-ray, I checked on him after every 10 minutes and when I talked to him, he no longer responded. He was breathing heavily, battling for his life.

“I was begging God to help me because my husband is a good man. The doctor said they would operate him around 4:30 and as we were waiting for the doctor; they shifted the operation, saying they have to stabilise him first. They shifted it from 4:30 to 8: am.

“But around 8 am I noticed that something was wrong. When I touched his head, it was blocked. His body was blocked. Only his laps were warm. 30 minutes later, the doctor called me and confirmed my husband was dead. His friends rushed him to the ICU but nothing happened.”

On responses they got from the police, she added, “I don’t know their names, maybe he’s the Biaji police station DPO, he just came and said ‘madam, sorry for what happened. We’re carrying out an investigation.’ Today again, the Commissioner of Police came and said ‘I shouldn’t worry that justice must prevail’.

Adaeze, one of the late businessman’s neighbours and friend to the wife, also spoke to DAILY POST:

“I’m her [Ogochukwu] friend and neighbour. On Wednesday, May 22, 2024, at about 10:30 pm I was lying down and suddenly I was hearing a voice, ‘Somebody help me, somebody help me.’ I became scared and worried.

“And within some time, one of my neighbours called me on the phone. I was surprised because she’s not the kind of person to call by that time of the night. When I picked she told me that Ogochukwu’s husband had been shot.

“I stood up from the chair and ran out immediately. We heard the gunshot, a sound but we didn’t know what it was. When I ran out and asked what happened, they said he was shot as he was coming back from work.

“They said I was called because I’m the only one that can bring her [Ogochukwu] out in this circumstance. Her husband’s car was covered with blood. When we met him at the hospital, he was seeing. His eyes were covered by blood. The eyes bulged out with blood coming out from his nose, ears and mouth. The sight was terrible.

“The canister pierced his nose and entered his tongue. He didn’t have a tongue. It was like his tongue entered inside his mouth. His mouth was just opened but you cannot see his tongue while everywhere was covered with blood. The canister was still stocked on his nose.

“That was the last conversation and by the time we went back there, he had gone into unconsciousness.

“The teargas canister was shot at him at a very close range at his face and the thing stocked his nose and the doctor said the thing is very dangerous. It goes directly to the brain and damages the system within some minutes.

“The doctor said he had a 50-50 chance of survival. The Police Commissioner came here earlier and said the officer is already in detention and he promised to do anything to ensure that justice is served.”

DAILY POST also spoke with Ugo Maduabuchi, the Coordinator of the business community, where the deceased belong to.

He said, “I think it is important to highlight these issues. Because there has been a misconception about this thing, especially from the Commissioner of Police when he alleged at the hospital that it could be a case of accidental discharge.

“It seems the Commissioner of Police wants to preempt the investigation he said he wants to conduct by saying it was an accidental discharge.

“I want to send a message to the Commissioner of Police, who is by the way a good Commissioner of Police, he’s been trying.

“But this incident of distortion by his men must stop because that is what this thing is all about.

“Onyi was coming back from work and had a small scuffle with an okada rider that was carrying a passenger and in the course of argument, the okada rider said he wanted his motorcycle repaired, but Onyi’s car got damaged too.

“The Okada man said it’s not his fault, likewise Onyi. But the passers-by police patrol now saw the scuffle and stopped.

“Initially, Onyi was like, thank God the police are here; unfortunately, they were not there to settle the matter.

“They decided to take two of them to the police station. But the okada man, who said that police are not his friend and refused to follow them to the station, insisted he was on the verge of settling the matter before they came and they did settle and shook hands and the okada man left with his passenger.

“The police allowed the okada man to leave but held onto Onyi maybe because he’s the one with the Benz and they have seen that he’s an Igbo businessman.

“Because they estort more from us, that’s why they insisted he must follow them to the station. Onyi was like, I don’t understand, follow you to the police station for what?

“The person I had issues with has gone and said he doesn’t want a case again. And in the process, they insisted and jacked him from the belt.

“Then Onyi realised that this thing is getting out of hand and told them he had agreed to follow them to the station. But since the car was parked along the road with the glasses all wound down and nobody in it, he said okay, let’s ride with my car to the station or allow us to follow you with my car.

“They said no. That they must take him in their vehicle. He said how can I follow you and leave my car wound down. What if it is vandalised?

“They told him they don’t care. And in the process, the trigger-happy policeman that was the driver, felt he was wasting their time and brought out the canister and aimed straight at Onyi’s head intentionally.

“As a matter of fact, we’re coming from the Deputy Commissioner of Police office and they brought out all the patrol team and they confessed that when he shot that gun they were all surprised because he wasn’t even there ab initio.

“He’s just a trigger-happy policeman that feels he has the whole power because of the uniform he’s wearing and the gun he’s holding.

“This is a clear case of murder. And we from the business community, we’re going fully for justice. The Commissioner has assured us he’s in detention that they will try him, definitely find him guilty, dismiss and hand him over to the law to take its course.

“We’re more than 30,000. We’re a very large business community, UOO and Sabondele located at Jabi. We’ve been trying since yesterday to restrain our members from taking law into their hands. As a matter of fact, there were three attempts to burn down the police station yesterday but we foiled them.

“Now it’s up to the Nigeria police to prove to us if they’re really our friends or enemies. Or that they just armed that policeman to be killing people.”

DAILY POST also met Mr Michael Nwanna, the deceased father’s brother, who told a similar story, saying, “It happened on Wednesday, when the young man was going home and ‘Okada brushed him’.

“And after one or two arguments, they settled. But the police all of sudden, appeared and said, no no no, you’ve not settled. All of you will go to the station.

“And the Okada refused to follow them, climbed his bike and left. Then they insisted that he (Onyi) must follow them to the station and he refused.

“Then the driver of the police vehicle, who was inside the van while they were arguing, just opened the door and aimed the teargas gun directly at him and shot him.

“The young man he was carrying took him to the hospital. We have his pictures when he was struggling to survive. The police said they’ll do their investigations. Well, let’s see what will come out of it.”

At the Federal Capital Territory, FCT Police Command, the Public Relations Officer, DSP Josephine Adeh, confirmed the incident to DAILY POST.

She said the police officer in question was already cooling his feet in detention, adding that investigation had commenced immediately.

According to Mrs. Adeh, “Well, the man [the police officer] is under detention and investigations have commenced into the facts of what really happened.

“The investigation is headed by the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the State CID, FCT.

“He is personally investigating this ugly incident and we have to wait till the end of the investigation for us to ascertain what happened and brief members of the public exactly what happened.

“But definitely, the Commissioner of Police has assured that after the investigation, the outcome would be communicated to the members of the public and justice will be duly served.”