Youths of Ntueke community in the Ideato South Local Government Area of Imo State on Saturday blocked the Akokwa-Okwelle highway in protest.
The youths, who carried placards with different inscriptions depicting their grievances, called on the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, and the state Commissioner of Police, Muhammed Berde, to ensure that the Ideato North Divisional Police Officer, Chris Ikemere, did not escape justice for allegedly shooting a man, Emeka Dike.
Dike, a father of four, was said to have come from Lagos for the funeral rites of a relative when he was allegedly shot at a pub in the area on Wednesday.
The youth leader of Ntueke community, Ifeanyi Obiekwe, who spoke to journalists during the protest, said he was with the victim when the DPO, who arrived in a vehicle with two women, shot Dike “because he (Dike) asked him to re-park his vehicle.”
He said the shooting happened at Emma Ocha beer parlour, Uruala community, in the Ideato-North LGA of the state.
The youth leader said, “The victim and I were at a beer parlour. We came to have some evening comfort and relax when the DPO arrived; there was a face-off between the two.”
He said the DPO subsequently branded the men as members of the Eastern Security Network, as he called his office and requested policemen to get rid of the bad boys at the joint.
Obiekwe said, “The trigger-happy police officer could not exercise patience. As the young boys around were demanding that he should park his Jeep properly, he reached out for his pistol, shot one of them and drove off immediately. He took refuge at the police divisional headquarters very close to the scene of the event.
“If not for the prompt and mature intervention of the Area Commander at the Ideato Police Area Command, who rushed the victim to the hospital and ensured that he received proper treatment, he would have been dead by now.
“We are happy that the DPO has been arrested, but we are calling for his prosecution. The police authorities should ensure justice in this matter.
“The annoying thing is that the trigger-happy DPO is from our neighbouring community of Isiekenesi. I asked him if he wanted to kill his brother; he shouted at me and threatened to shoot me if I queried him again. I dared him before the area commander ordered he be disarmed together with his ADC.”
The police spokesperson for the command, Micheal Abattam, had yet to respond to enquiries on the matter.
But a senior police source said the DPO had been arrested and transferred to the command headquarters at Owerri, the state capital.