Abia: How Police Caused Disorder in Umuahia
There was pandemonium as members of the public ran helter skelter following the tear gas thrown by men of the Nigeria police at Post Office/Old Tower axis of Umuahia city centre.
Trouble started when some policemen riding on a hilux van with registration number NPF9908E started beating occupants of old Camry with plate number BF130LSD.
According to an occupant of the Camry, their vehicle broke down along the Aba Road, just after the NUJ Press Centre, Aba Road " as we were attempting to fix it the police van came and the occupants jumped down and without hearing from us started beating us, all attempt to explain fell on deaf ears", he said.
An eye witness who do not want his name mentioned said that trouble started when the police saw a young man recording the event with a phone " they took the phone from the young man but the young man was able to take it back from them and ran, the police then threw a tear gas which nearly killed me" he said.
The incident which took place near NUJ building saw passers-by and shop owners around the vicinity inhaled the poisonous substance and had to scurried for safety abandoning their wares.
A lady passerby complained bitterly amidst tears to the rampaging policemen over the effect of the tear gas on her and others.
However, one of the policemen with the a name tag Okuruwa, who arrived the scene later with another police patrol van was even asking was the cause of the throwing of the tear gas and based on explanation above, queried the rationale behind the recording of the beating of occupants of the Camry car by the young man, but when the journalists who was discussing the issue with the Policeman reminded him that there was no mob attack or reaction on the Police brutality which ordinarily should have warranted the throwing of the tear gas, he simply walked away.
The policemen latter on towed the car with a rope to their station.
Abians are worried over the increasing police brutality in the state, they therefore, call on the commissioner of police and the state governor to call them to order to avoid break down of law and order in the state.
When contacted the state police public relations officer, PPRO, DSP Geoffrey Ogbonna, said that though he is yet to receive the report of the incident, but described it as very unfortunate. He, therefore, requested for the registration number of the patrol van to enable them identify those involved, saying that the command has been cautioning their personnel on how to handle civil matters.
DSP Ogbonna maintained that there was no need firing canisters of tear gas over such minor traffic offence