Tragedy struck Ado Ekiti on Friday evening as a police officer was reportedly shot dead as protesters were chased from the headquarters of the Ado Central Police Division in the state capital.
An eyewitness told reporters in Ado Ekiti on Saturday that young people, numbering around 20, had besieged the police zone command office, chanting war songs about the murder of a motorcyclist by a driver.
The policeman was reportedly shot dead during the melee that erupted as he tried to scare away violent protesters.
The young people reportedly expressed their anger at the murder of one of them and the seizure of the corpse by the police and the sum of 470,000 naira paid to the family of the deceased by the owner of the car.
The deceased family are said to have asked for money to allow them to transport the body to their country house for burial.
A source said: “When the police did not hand over the corpse and the money allegedly collected from the driver to the family of the deceased, relatives stormed the police station in protest and demanded that the corpse and the money be released.
“Sensing that the demonstration was turning violent, the police fired tear gas canisters and gunshots to frighten them. In the process, stray bullets hit a policeman in the leg, who then bled to death in hospital ”.
But, the police public ration officer, Ekiti Command, ASP Sunday Abutu, said police are still investigating who actually fired the shot that killed the officer.
Abutu alleged that the investigation had become timely on the grounds that the protesters came to the police station with dangerous weapons and that the shots were coming from different directions.
“It was true that the police allowed the driver and the deceased family to negotiate and the driver agreed to pay a sum of 440,000 N, which had been paid to the family of the deceased.
“But out of this money, it was agreed that a sum of 150,000 N should be paid to the owner of the bicycle. This is what the protesters heard and stormed the police station angrily as our men were trying to deceive them. The owner of the motorcycle was not even paid at all.
“As they brandished dangerous weapons and demanded that the detainee be released to them, the police fired tear gas canisters to frighten them. But to the surprise of the police, they saw gunshots coming from different directions and one of our men was hit and died.
“It was hasty and wrong that it was the police who fired the shot that killed one of them. We are still investigating, ”he said.