A personnel of the Nigerian Police Force at Federal Capital Territory (FCT) command has shot dead 23-year-old Linda Igwetu, a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member, on Wednesday, a day to her passing out parade.
The news of the incident was broken by Chinenye Igwetu, the deceased’s elder sister, via her twitter handle on Wednesday.
Please guys help me retweet my last retweet. My little sister was shot dead by the police this morning in Abuja
— Enyi Di Ya (@Chinny3bs) July 4, 2018
Corroborating the incident, Segun Awosanya, an activist and originator of the #EndSARS campaign, said Linda, whose passing out is today (Thursday) had gone out with some friends after the days work, apparently in celebration of the end of her service year. They were on their way back around 3 am on Wednesday when they were stopped by policemen around Ceddi Plaza, a popular fun spot in the Abuja city centre.
“We lost Miss Linda Nkechi Igwetu, a youth corper serving in Abuja to yet another avoidable impunity of Police earlier this morning. A police officer shot at their car while returning from work and she bled to death,” Awosanya, whose tweeter handle is @segalink, wrote.
“She finished at work late at about 11 pm and joined a few friends to a hang out before their Passing Out Parade scheduled for the next day.
“They left for home at about 3am and was shot at shortly after the check point immediately after Ceddi Plaza by a Police Officer identified as Benjamin PETERS. The bullet hits Angela on her side, by the midriff and she began loosing blood in the open roof vehicle.
“She was rushed to the Garki hospital but they wouldn’t treat her until they see a police report despite the fact that the police officers were present. While the deliberation was ongoing, Angela bled to death.
“The case was later taken to Federal Secretariat Police Station where the elder sister of the deceased Chineye Igwetu was crying for help before our legal team reached her, minutes after we were notified of the incident.”
When the ICIR contacted Anjuguri Manzah, spokesman of the FCT Police spokesman, he confirmed the incident but refused to give any details, saying only that “the case is under investigation”.
Asked whether the policeman that allegedly shot the corps member was a member of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), Manza simply replied, “the case is under investigation.”
However, Daily Trust newspaper quoted anonymous police source as saying that the shooting was not deliberate as the policeman in question thought the lady was being kidnapped.
“While the deceased’s vehicle was approaching, she was shouting for help. The patrol team was flagging down the car but it refused to stop. So the whole shooting was more of an operational error in an attempt to save her life because they did not know the motive of those in the car,” the source was quoted as saying.
“The policemen thought it was a kidnap situation. So the best thing the policeman could do was to shoot and he shot with the intent of targeting the tire of the car but it went wrong.”
Seven policemen were gunned down by unknown gunmen at the Galadimawa area of the FCT on Monday, July 3. A statement by the police authorities did not provide details of the attack, stating only that the men died “during a fierce gun battle with some daredevil men of the underworld”.
However, a message purported to be from the police authorities has been circulating on whatsapp, a social media messaging app.
“In view of the killing of seven police officers on their duty location by suspected gunmen around the Galadimawa area of FCT, there is an increased deployment of security personnel within the city centre and entry points into FCT,” the message read.
“Members of the public are advised to avoid night movements or late evening activities for now. When stopped by security personnel, be calm and properly identify self in a calm and cool manner.
“Avoid any confrontational approach or attitudes with law enforcement agencies as these may lead to unwarranted aggression if handled badly.
“Persons whose residence are within some locations such as: Games Village axis, (and) Sunnyvale/Galadimawa axis, are advised to avoid returning home late.”
The authenticity of this message cannot be independently verified by the ICIR.