A tricycle operator was beaten mercilessly to death by members of the Abia State Covid-19 Taskforce, enforcing the lockdown directive in Aba on Friday.
The Abia State Commissioner of Police, Mr Ene Okon, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Aba that he had directed the area commander in charge of Aba to investigate the cause of death of the tricycle operator, which happened along Opobo Road in the commercial city.
He said that another tricycle operator allegedly killed by policemen at Uratta Checkpoint in Aba did not die as speculated but was arrested by the police for defying the lockdown order.
Okon said that a third person was shot and wounded at the same Uratta Junction by the police for blocking the road when a police team raced to the area to restore order, following an anti-police protest by youths.
He said that a mob burnt a police inspector’s car at the checkpoint, thinking that the second tricycle operator had also died.
A man, who claimed to have witnessed the incident, told NAN that the tricycle operator was struggling with a man stationed by the police team at the junction to catch violators of the movement restriction.
“Seeing their `catcher’ being over-powered by the tricyclist in his bid to escape, one of the policemen in the team hit the tricyclist with his gun butt in the head and he slumped.
The witness said the policemen had to take the tricyclist to hospital for medication and that the mob believed that the cyclist must have died. On April 15, an operative of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps killed a motorist conveying goods to Aba for allegedly refusing to give him bribe to be allowed to continue his trip to the city.
Nigeria is currently on lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus with security operatives deployed to highways to enforce restriction of movement.
At least 18 people are said to have lost their lives in the hands of security operatives enforcing the lockdown nationwide, according to the National Human Rights Commission.
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