Riot In Onitsha Over The Killing Of A Bus Driver By A Trigger Happy Policeman

Violent protest sparked off in Onitsha, the commercial city of Anambra State Thursday, over the killing of a commercial bus driver simply identified as Edwin by a trigger happy policeman for failing to part with N50 tip.

According to the conductor of the bus, Samuel Ekwueme who was crying uncontrollably, the police, at Anambra State Broadcasting Service (ABS) Awka Road Onitsha junction check point, had stopped the Coaster bus driver with registration number AA 763 AHB and asked for N50 tip, but the driver gave him the normal N20.

The policeman said to be a Hausa man refused and insisted on collecting N50, but was told by the driver that they just came out and that they should allow them to go and come back.

The conductor said: “The policemen insisted that we must give them N50 before we move. The driver, after pleading with the unyielding policemen, drove off and one of them entered a commercial motorcycle and accosted us at Anionwu street by New Market Road Onitsha where he shot the driver through the bus window and ordered the commercial motorcyclist carrying him to move for him to escape.”

The killing of the driver exploded the bottled up anger of residents of Onitsha and the fragile peace in the state that have lost over 30 people to the bombing and shooting of the Boko Haram as residents took to the streets in protest of the killing of the bus driver said to be member of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).

It was gathered that four passenger in the bus sustained bullet wounds while others in an attempt to escape sustained serious injuries when the bus became uncontrollable following the shooting of the driver by the trigger happy cop.

The situation however took a dangerous turn when angry mob comprising of drivers and commercial motorcyclist popularly known as ‘okada riders’ went on rampage with the corpse of the driver, for reprisal attack on Hausas people in Onitsha.

The bus was said to be fully loaded with passengers who took off from Nkpor junction and was heading to the Ose Okwodu and Onitsha Main Market, when the incident happened.

One of the passengers who gave her name as Ifeoma Obi said: “the deceased did not do anything that warranted his killing, adding it was just sheer wickedness on the side of the policeman who because of just N50 wasted this young man’s life”

She also said that when the policeman first demobilized the bus by shooting at the tires of the vehicle and it could not move again, a situation she said helped the killer cop to shoot at the deceased from the window on closed range after shattering the glass of the vehicle.

The killing took an ethnic sentiment as Coaster drivers and angry mob in Onitsha went on rampage demanding the killing of Hausa people on the ground that the policeman who shot the deceased was a Hausa man.

The situation also escalated when angry mob descended on the police team earlier sent by the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Muhtari Ibrahim to come and appeal to the rampaging crowd as the team were almost lynched but for the intervention of MASSOB Director of Information, Mr Uchenna Madu who pleaded with the aggrieved protesters that their leader Chief Ralph Uwazurike is against any reprisal attack.

The Onitsha Ploice acting Area Commander, Mr Roland Omatoje and the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Central Police Station, Onitsha Mr. Abdul Yusuf escaped death by the whiskers when the angry mob descended on them when they led their men to the scene of the incident.