A Policeman has allegedly shot dead a truck driver after the driver refused to give him a bribe.
Some truck drivers, on Monday, barricaded the Akure-Owo Expressway at Uso in the Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State, to protest the alleged killing of their member by a policeman at a checkpoint in the town.
It was gathered that the protest halted vehicular movement on the road for several hours.
The deceased, whose identity was yet to be ascertained as of the time of filing this report, was said to be heading for the northern part of the country when the tragedy struck.
He was said to have engaged in a hot argument with the policeman, who allegedly demanded an N50 (fifty nairas) bribe from him.
A passer-by said, “The policeman stopped the truck driver at the checkpoint and they engaged in an argument over a bribe of N50. The driver refused to offer the policeman the bribe and suddenly, the policeman shot the man in the head and he fell down and died.
“This infuriated the other truck drivers and they barricaded the road in protest.”
Efforts made by a team of policemen, who were deployed in the scene, could not end the protest as the drivers insisted that the killer cop must face the music.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr. Femi Joseph, who confirmed the incident, described it as sad and unfortunate.
He gave an assurance that the culprit would be brought to justice.
He stated that the state Deputy Commissioner of Police had visited the scene of the incident and appealed for calm, adding that justice would be served in the matter as the command had set up a panel to make enquiries about the incident.
“We will ensure that the culprit is brought to justice. We have visited the scene of the incident and I can assure you that it will not be swept under the carpet,” Joseph stated.
He urged the protesters to remain calm and await the outcome of the panel of enquiry set up to probe the incident.
Nigerian Bar Association Reacts
The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Owo branch has described the killing of a haulage truck driver by a policeman attached to the Ondo State Police Command as barbaric and reckless.
Tajudeen Olutope Ahmed, the branch Chairman, in a statement issued on Tuesday, emphasized that the act was an act of bestiality which negates the right to life as entrenched in the constitution.
He stated that the unprofessional conduct of the policemen at the Uso checkpoint is unbecoming, the NBA Chairman berated the police authority for allegedly turning a blind eye on the embarrassing attitude of its men who he said are fond of harassing citizens who they are supposed to protect.
The statement reads:
“NBA Owo branch condemns in strong terms the dastard act of the police officer that led to the untimely death of a citizen. As far as the Bar is concerned, the killing of the truck driver by the errant policeman was barbaric, gruesome, unwarranted and condemnable. It was an affront on the constitutional rights of citizens to life and freedom of movement. It was the most despicable act of bestiality.
“As an organization whose major focus is ensuring the promotion of the rule of law, NBA Owo branch has always been concerned about the reckless, arbitrary and naked display of brutality by the policemen on Uso roadblocks.
“In some cases, members of our branch have had cause to intervene whenever policemen on Uso roadblocks are out to harass, assault and dehumanize commuters.
“The killing of the innocent truck driver by the lawless, reckless and tactless police officer was the crescendo of the unsavory acts of the policemen mounting roadblocks at Uso.
“While saluting the timely response of the Ondo State police command to the ugly and unfortunate incident through a press release issued by the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Femi Joseph; the Ondo State police command should take a step beyond the mere condemnation of the uncivilized act of the police officer by ensuring that only police officers with confirmed stable psychological and mental status are allowed to mount police checkpoints.
“The attitude and behaviour of most of the police officers at police checkpoints call for serious concern, worry, and attention.
The statement further read that,
“NBA Owo branch noted with delight the resolve of the Ondo State police command to ensure that the culprit of the “Uso police murder” is made to face the full wrath of the law.
“The branch hereby expresses her willingness and readiness to assist in the due and diligent prosecution of the culprit, on pro bono publico basis.
“NBA Owo branch frowns at the lackadaisical attitude of the police authorities to the rampant habit of bribe collection by police officers at police checkpoints.
“This act of corruption and ineptitude was the precursor of the horrible and heinous police killing of an innocent truck driver at Uso. Even when the police checkpoints are supposed to fortify the security of the citizens, the checkpoints have been turned into corruption centres and unsecured posts consequent upon bribe collection.
“Finally, the Bar expressed her condolence with the family of the deceased and assures the family of standing with her in getting justice on the unwarranted killing of her illustrious member.
“As an advocate of the rule of law, the NBA Owo branch declares the gruesome killing of the truck driver at Uso by the errant police officer as extrajudicial, uncivilized, illegal, and unlawful.”