Apolice sergeant in Port-Harcourt has killed a civilian following an argument over check-point bribery demands, including a temporary seizure of the victim’s Apple iPhone, Peoples Gazette learnt on Sunday.
The incident occurred at Elelenwo Divisional Police Headquarters on Friday night, the Gazette learnt. It was confirmed by the police in Rivers on Sunday afternoon following media enquiries.
The police statement did not immediately identify the officer involved, but said he had been taken into custody over the murder, which the police said came without provocation.
“The sad incident happened at the station, where the sergeant, without justification, shot the victim, Abiodun Jimoh, who was immediately rushed to the hospital but later died. His remains have been deposited in the mortuary,” police spokesman Nnamdi Omoni said in a statement to the Gazette Sunday afternoon.
“The incident is being investigated and the outcome will be communicated to the public. Meanwhile the Police Sergeant who carried out the dastardly act is in custody for debriefing and psychological evaluation,” Mr. Nnamdi added. “His orderly room trial will commence in earnest, for possible arraignment.”
The victim was identified as Abiodun Jimoh. The Gazette learnt that an iPhone belonging to the victim was said to be at issue when the office opened fire.
The victim’s family could not be reached for comments, but a brother of the victim told Vanguard that they were both arrested on their way home.
The brother, who suggested that the incident did not happen at the police station contrary to police statement, also said the police officer involved appeared drunk after they were accosted on their way home on Friday night. While seeking bribes, the officers initially seized their phones, including an iPhone, but later returned them, Vanguard reported.
The police statement was silent on what could have prompted the fatal shooting of Mr. Jimoh, which came amidst nationwide #EndSARS campaign for police reform.
In a follow-up message in which the Gazette sought clarification on whether or not the victim’s phone was involved, Mr. Omoni declined to either confirm or deny the cause of the tragic shooting.
The police also claimed they had reached out to the family with condolences and promised a thorough investigation into the fatal shooting.