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Condemnations trail soldier’s Killing of youth for flouting lockdown order in Warri

…Leaders call for calm

There have been massive condemnations at the killing of a youth by Nigerian soldiers who opened fire in the oil city of Warri, Delta State as they enforced the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown ordered by the State government to help contain the spread of the virus.

Images of shootings, high handedness and killing arising from the incident, including the death of one Mr Joseph Pessu, has been circulating on private social media platforms.

Following the killing of the Itsekiri youth, there has also been reports of attacks on military, Police and other security agents by youths from the city known for its restiveness and volatile nature.

Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who represents the area, has condemned “the alleged gruesome killing,” describing the incident as “extra-judicial.”

Senator Omo-Agege, who spoke directly with the Army and Police authorities in the State, called for the arrest and prosecution of the culprit (s) to serve as deterrent to others.

According to his Spokesperson, Mr Yomi Odunuga, Omo-Agege called on all citizens of the State to desist from taking the laws into their hands as being reported in some quarters, insisting that he has tasked the authorities to fish out those responsible and punish them in accordance with the laws of the land.

The Deputy Senate President stated that even if the deceased had flouted the order of the State government to stay at home, the best approach was to apprehend and hand him over to the police for prosecution.

While calling on security personnel to always maintain the rules of engagement as they enforce the lockdown order, he called on youths to exercise utmost restraint.

According to him, “those who are authorised to bear arms  in defence of the nation ought to understand that this comes with responsibility especially when human life is sancrosant. The killing in Warri today is one too many as the issue shouldn’t have led to what, in my opinion, amounted to extra judicial killing of yet another future hope of this country.

“I have heard that the Army has arrested the soldier that shot the deceased. It is my belief that thorough investigations would be carried out and adequate punishment would be meted out to those involved in the heinous crime. Yes, we are in strange times and nerves are high with all the issues surrounding the COVID-19 lockdown in the country. Be that as it may, there are better ways of making Nigerians obey the government’s directives without the resort to violence or extra judicial killings by law enforcement agents.”

“My prayers are with the family and loved ones of the deceased. I hope those who are quick at pulling the trigger would learn from this and adopt strategies that would foster mutual understanding between them and those they are tasked to protect. In their bid to save the lives of the Nigerians, it would be a depressing twist of fate for them to be listed among those contributing to the list of the dead in this challenging period globally,” he said.

Minister of State for Labour and Employment Mr. Festus Keyamo, also condemned the killing “of innocent live (s).”

In Press Statement at his official twitter handle @fkeyamo on Thursday, Keyamo said: “I unreservedly condemn this barbaric act by men of the armed forces who should exercise restraint when dealing with the civilian populace. I will be forwarding a petition to the relevant authorities to thoroughly investigate this murder and bring the officer(s) to book. In the interim, let us not take the laws into our hands, please.”

“I will use this medium to sincerely appeal to my brothers and sisters in Delta State to be law-abiding and obey the orders of restrictions imposed by both the Delta State Government and the Federal Government. They are lawful orders and they are for our own good. Images and reports of attack on law-enforcement agents by the civilian populace would not help our cause, as I call on all and sundry in the entire country too to exercise the utmost restraint at this point.” 

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