• Monday, July 22, 2024
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Commercial activities halted in Aba, as IPOB protest turns bloody


Business activities were halted abruptly in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, following the murder of a 20-year-old man identified as Chidozie Okafor, by an unidentified soldier at St. Michael Road.

Soldiers sent to quell a protest by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) shot the victim, an apprentice, at about 1pm on Monday.

According to an eyewitness account, Chidozie was hit by a soldier’s bullet, while returning from lunch in a restaurant on St. Michael Road.

BusinessDay gathered that Chidozie had eaten and was returning to the shop when soldiers began shooting at IPOB members who made bonfires on the road, obstructing traffic and forcing people to close their shops in solidarity of their protest.

Chiedozie, the only son of his parents and a native of Omuohu in Eziagu Local Government Area of Enugu State, according to those that knew him, came to Aba in 2015, to learn trading in electronic appliances, empty discs and cassettes, and was until his death an apprentice at a shop on St. Michael Road.

There was also unconfirmed report of another victim who was hit on the belly that was rushed to an undisclosed hospital.

Habila Joshack, Abia State commissioner of police, when contacted, said he was not aware of the death of the young man, hence he and his men were at the Ariaria Police Station at the time of contacting him, to ensure that the IPOB members do not burn the station.

Joshack said he was not sure that his men used live bullets to control the protesters, noting that he told his men to manage the protests in such a way that lives and properties were protected and not lost.

He warned that protesters in Abia should know that there was a ban on public protests for now, hence no one was allowed to threaten the lives of others or put them in fear during protests.

The commissioner said the act of setting bonfires on the road to obstruct traffic was an act of recklessness and lawlessness, which must be stopped to ensure peace.