A driver, Mr. Justice Eke, escaped death by the whiskers when an officer of the Imo State police command allegedly shot him for letting an N50 bribe offered to the officer drop on the floor. The incident, which happened on Wednesday near Airport Junction along Owerri-Aba Express Road, saw the driver bleeding profusely as he lost control of the vehicle and skidded to a halt into the nearby bush.
It was gathered that while the trigger-happy policeman was escaping, he cocked his gun and threatened to shoot anyone who attempted to attack him. The incident attracted other drivers, passersby, and villagers, and halted vehicular movement on the road for several hours before the team leader of Mopol 88, Inspector Festus Omoruwa, was compelled by the passersby to take the victim to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri.
When our correspondent visited the victim at the FMC yesterday, Eke, a native of Umuoye Enyiogugu in Aboh Mbaise council area and fish seller, said he was heading to a nearby market when the tragedy struck. He said the police team mounted checkpoint and, as usual, demanded N50 bribe from him.
“I brought out the N50, and as my car was moving slowly, I handed him the money. Mistakenly, the money did not reach his hand before falling on the ground. To my surprise, this infuriated the policeman as he ordered me to come down and pick up the money.
“You know, many vehicles were on the line and moving slowly. I expected him to pick up the money. But, instead, he shot me almost from close range at the back of my chest,” Eke said.
He added that what saved his life was his seat, as according to him, the bullet pierced through the seat before hitting him. “I thank God for everything. Without that, I think I could have been a dead man by now because of my own N50, which I gave out to the policeman”
Speaking with journalists at the state police command headquarters, Commissioner of Police, Bolaji Fafowora, said the command under his supervision would take drastic approach against police extortion and other vices along major roads in the state.
He added that the command under his watch would ensure absolute respect for human right at all times, as his command would not condone any form of incivility to members of the public or other unethical or unprofessional act or misconduct.