The killed footballer.

Ubani Dannie wrote! This is Chukwubuike Onuoha, a budding footballer. Possibly another Jay Jay Okocha and even a Ronaldo in the making. Like many of us, he had lofty dreams but here he is lying stone dead in the pool of his own blood. Cut down at the prime of life not by armed robbers but by one almighty Sergeant Collins Akpugo for the ‘heinous crime’ of insisting that Sergeant Akpugo should dim the light of his car.

This incident happened two nights ago in Afara Ukwu, Umuahia, the Abia State capital. The policeman, Sergent Collins Akpugo, who is obviously licensed to kill at will lives in the same neighborhood with the deceased. He was returning from work in his car. The deceased was blinded by the light rays of the policeman’s car. The deceased’s insistence that he should dim his light led to some altercation. The policeman went into his car, drew his gun, shot and killed the young lad. This may sound too bizarre and incredulous to be true but that’s how cheap life shrank by the nozzle of gun.

My concern is not what led to the killing but the impudence and audacity of the policeman, just like many other policemen, in turning his gun on a defenseless citizen at the least verbal provocation. The arrogation and abuse of power by the police especially, in Abia State is unprecedentedly unbearable. Every policeman wants to serve in Abia. If they are transferred out of the state, give them three months. They would work their way back to the state at very exorbitant cost, we are told. The Abia State Commissioner of Police, Mr Okon Enen, a fine gentleman officer, admitted this much only recently as he was reported to have wondered why every policeman wants to serve in Aba.

Mr. CP Sir, the answer is not far-fetched as they are rather obvious even to you. The answers are at your doorstep and fingertips in the offices of O/c Opps, O/c Admin and O/c Patrol. Sir, your policemen are mainly here for business, and as you know, the only driving force propelling every business venture is profit maximization. The more than 50 police checkpoints, almost at the distance of every 200 meters, from Umuahia to Imo Gate (the boundary of Abia and Rivers State) are their shops. Like the average Aba trader in Ariaria Int’l Market, New Market or Ubani Ibeku Market your men flaunt and sell their wares openly and confidently. They collect money and give change openly without any fear. The only difference between them and the average Ariaria trader is this - whereas the average Ariaria trader closes his shop at 6pm mostly for fear of being arrested and forced to patronize your men for the ‘killable offense’ of coming back late; your men run their own shop for twenty four hours non stop and they exact compliance from poor motorists through intimidation. Above all, your men do their own trading slugging their fully loaded AK47 riffles on their shoulders. And knowing that they are licensed to kill, just the same way Chukwubuike Onuoha has just been killed, Abians patronize them endlessly.

After all, it is only a fool that argues with gun.

Mr. CP Sir, from what I have just read on some news platforms this morning your mouthpiece, SP Geoffrey Ogbonna has done what he is duty bound to do, and which he is best at - laundering the image of the command. As usual, he has assured us, poor gullible us, that you have ordered a thorough investigation into the killing of Chukwubuike Onuoha. It doesn’t matter whether this investigation will last for eternity but permit me to ask if a serving policeman especially, the rank and file, is permitted to go home at close of work with his riffle? I ask this question because if the answer is not affirmative we may have gotten a possible clue to the proliferation of light weapons which has unleashed untold tears and blood on defenseless Abians. While we thank you for doing what you are supposed to do kindly help us the more to plead with your men thus:
1.     That we are ready to patronize them the more at their various shops especially, at Osisioma Junction, close to Arongwa Junction, Flyover, Alaoji, Ihie Junction, Union Bank Junction, Bata Junction, Opopo Junction, Imo Gate etc but they should at least allow us to be alive to keep on buying our freedom from them. It is only the living that pays.
2. That as they are busy collecting toll fares from us armed robbers and kidnappers are having a field day almost unchallenged. Therefore, they should equally consider opening more shops here and there under the pretense of offering us more security.

Conclusively Sir, I have known you right from your days here as a DC. Kindly bring your professionalism and famed discipline to bear on policing not necessarily your officers but your rank and file. Their excesses are rather unbecoming. When we keep on wasting our youths, just like Chukwubuike Onuoha has been wasted, you never can tell when a potential CP, AIG, DIG and even IG is wasted.

As for the slain Chukwubuike Onuoha, your death, just like the death of any youth, diminishes me for in your death, part of our collective future also died. May your death germinate that seed of nonviolent resistance of curbing police brutality and banditry. If and when this happens then, you would not have died in vain. Fare thee well.