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Students, youths protest police harassment, one killed

One person was on Thursday shot dead as students of the newly opened Imo State University of Agriculture and Environmental sciences, Umuagwo, and youths residents in the area protested alleged police brutality.

The protesting youths who blocked the ever-busy Owerri- Port Harcourt expressway, demanded an end to police harassment and brutality in the area.

Not long after the protest commenced, policemen allegedly mobilized to the scene and started shooting indiscriminately.

While the protesters scampered for safety, 26-year-old Izuchukwu Okorie, who was not part of the protest, was hit by a stray bullet.

He was rushed to a hospital where he was confirmed dead.

The University’s Registrar, Edward Njemanze, who spoke to our correspondent in a telephone conversation said that no student of the varsity was part of the protest.

He also said that the slain youth was not a student of the university.

The registrar said, “The man who was shot dead was not a student of our university. Also, no student of the university took part in the protest. Those involved are youths and residents of the area.”

But sources who confided in our correspondent insisted that students, youths and residents of the area took part in the protest.

They claimed that the aim was to bring to an end the constant brutality of the students and youths of the area.

The immediate younger brother of the victim, Onyinyechi Okorie, who spoke to our correspondent in a telephone interview, said that his elder brother was not a student of the university.

He said that his elder brother came to visit him and was on his way out when he was hit by a stray bullet.

Onyinyechi said “My name is Onyinyechi Okorie. The person killed was my immediate elder brother. He was not a student of the university and was not part of the protest. He was a tiler. I am a businessman in the area.

“He was not part of the protest. He was on his way out when a stray bullet hit him. He was rushed to St John’s Hospital at Obinze by students and some policemen. I met them there. He was confirmed dead.

“He came to visit me. He wasn’t married. We are from Oforola community in the Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo state. Our father is late. Our widow mother is alive. His corpse has been deposited at the Above Mortuary at Obama. They only gave me his ATM card, house key and the sum of N300. His phone is nowhere to be found. As I speak to you his phone number is still switched off.

“Please tell the government that we need justice. This is just three years we lost our father. The policemen refused to give me their phone numbers and also refused to tell me their names or how I could locate them. They just drove out once my brother was confirmed dead.

The police spokesperson for the command, Micheal Abattam, said that the command was investigating the murder incident.

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