The Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, PhD has condemned in the strongest of terms, the shooting by some Police Officers yesterday at the Abia State Polytechnic Aba during a protest by students of the institution.
The Governor noted that the act of the Police Officers was excessive, uncalled for and could aggravate an already tensed situation which could lead to collateral damages.
According to the Governor, “Shooting at unarmed students who were protesting the alleged sexual assault of one of them by a police officer is against all known and recognized rules of engagement by law enforcement officers who could have employed other means other than deadly force to disperse the protesting students”.
While noting that the State Government was already looking into the issues that led to yesterday’s protest which created a huge traffic jam along Aba Owerri Road, the Governor insisted that the use of deadly force by the Police was completely unacceptable to the State Government and outrightly condemnable.
Governor Ikpeazu urges the State Police Commissioner and the Area Commander in charge of Aba to ensure that the Officers who were involved in yesterday’s shooting are identified and disciplined in line with extant Police Regulations, while further ensuring that such display of disproportionate force doesn’t happen again.
The Governor also advised the Students to be disciplined and avoid taking the law into their hands even while protesting, adding that they must at all times, exercise restraint when confronted by Police Officers who are on lawful duty.
“Under no circumstances”, the Governor noted, “must students confront police officers who are engaged in their lawful duties”, adding that the Police has a responsibility under the law to ensure that peaceful protests by students are not hijacked by hoodlums whose intentions are different from the those of the students.
The Governor warned that while the State Government will not condone the use of excessive force by Police Officers, any student who, under the guise of a protest, chooses to unlawfully confront an armed police officer must be prepared to face the consequences.
Sir Onyebuchi Ememanka
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
24th September, 2021.