The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC Akwa Ibom State Command has offered explanation into the shooting incidence involving their officer which led to the death of one Onyekachi Wogu at Umukoro village, Obingba LGA of Abia State.
In the shooting incidence which took place on Tuesday, September 8, 2020, NSCDC officer, Inspector Otobong Robinson who is attached to CGGU Global Projects Nigeria, Limited, the company rehabilitating Akwa Ibom link road to Aba was accused by the Abia State Government as being trigger-happy thus killed the victim in front of his compound.
But in a statement released by the Akwa Ibom State Commandant of NSCDC, Commandant Samuel Fadeyi, he insisted that after thorough investigation by his team, he has discovered that the allegation by the Abia State Government that the NSCDC operative was trigger-excited thus killed the victim in front of his compound was false.
While stressing that the Operative acted within the rules of engagement, he narrated that on the said day, Inspector Robinson was on a mobile protective assignment for two expatriates of CGGC in a Hiux vehicle in transit to Ikot Ekpene, from Aba, Abia State
He said when they got to a bad section of the road, a trailer had already broken down causing traffic, but in a bid to access a good portion of the road, they saw a barricade manned by persons with shovels, machetes and sticks.
Commandant Fadeyi, said Officer Robinson initially believed those who manned the road were community youths, hence the reason he alighted from the Hilux to talk to them to clear the barricade.
The Commandant stated that initially they had listened to him but the situation changed when they saw he was escorting “white” expatriates.
He said ” They became violent, brandishing their weapons and seeking to disarm the officer in other to get to the expatriates for whatever reasons.
“Sensing danger of harm to himself and abduction or harm of his principals, Officer Robinson retreated but they surged at him with their cutlasses and shovels so much that he had to fire a warning shots. The shots did not deter them as they rushed him with sticks, machetes and shovels, trying to disarm him.
“It was in the ensuing struggle that a second shot was fired and the leader of the mob who grabbed the muzzle of the rifle was shot.”
The Commandant explained that at that time, the driver who had seen the hostility and heard the gunshots had maneuvered the Hilux to Officer Robinson to leave the scene with the foreign nationals but Officer Robinson took compassion on “the shot hoodlum” later identified as Onyekachi Wogu.
He said in a bid to save him, Officer Robinson carried the man who was shot into the Hilux and sped off in search of a hospital.
The Commandant said at one of the border checkpoints manned by military personnel, they explained to the soldiers what had happened and they were directed to a nearby hospital which the soldiers accompanying them for safety.
He added “Unfortunately, Mr. Onyekachi Wogu was pronounced dead on arrival.
Whilst these medical diagnostics was going on, the hoodlums had regrouped and stormed the hospital having learnt that Officer Robinson was still in the territory.
“Some military men had to rescue the expatriates while the few on ground could not save my officer from being brutally beaten and macheted. The expatriates’ Hilux was burnt right there in the hospital premises”.
Commandant Fadeyi pointed out that it took further reinforcement of the military and police to rescue Officer Robinson and until recently, he was in a very dire and critical condition, resulting from injuries he sustained. He added that he is currently receiving treatment at the police clinic in Abia State.
The Commandant said although he finds the incidence regrettable, the reports making the rounds that the NSCDC Officer recklessly shot the deceased in front of his compound was false especially as the notoriety of the area is well known to travelers who ply the road and their history of violence even on security personnel is not hidden.
He added “Would you have preferred an international event where foreign nationals in our care are taken and our rifle lost to unknown hoodlums? It is high time we stop playing politics with people’s lives and situation.
“Parents should take responsibility for their ward’s behavior. Security agents that they attack have families too and blood runs in their veins. I call on well-meaning citizens of this area to call their youths to order so that development will come there. The expatriates who are to rehabilitate their road are the same people we were guarding when the incident happened. “
The Commandant said since life was lost, it calls for sober reflection, thus the NSCDC condoles with the family of the deceased.
He said the NSCDC are ready to visit the family in condolence when the tension eases.
Contacted, the Driver of the Expatriates, Abdullhi Abubakar who witnessed the incidence confirmed the position of the Commandant.
According to him ” I was still in the car watching. When they realized that the Officer was with Chinese men, they were all over the Officer, trying to drag the gun away from him. At this point, some were approaching our vehicles. It was when I heard the second gunshot that they ran away and the Officer immediately called on me to help him take the man who was on the ground to the hospital.”
Meanwhile, it has been gathered that the youth of Umukoro village are unhappy with the rehabilitation operations of CGGU Global Projects Nigeria, Limited in the area.
It is reported that the youth of the area besides many unfulfilled expectations had asked the construction company to give temporary rehabilitation on the terrible spot where the incident happened for smooth passage but their call fell on deaf ears.
When The Mail Correspondent visited the Project Site of the Construction Company along Aba- Ikot Ekpene road, the Company’s Public Relations Officer and the Expatriates who were guarded during the incident refused comments.