It was a bizarre spectacle in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, on Monday as a police officer went berserk and shot his colleague at close range, killing him instantly.
Clement Amachi, a police corporal from Ohanku in Ukwa East Local Government Area of the state, was shot dead at close range by another corporal, Umaru Mohammed.
Messrs Mohammed and Amachi were attached to the security team of Governor Theodore Orji and had always ridden together in the pilot security van that leads the governor’s convoy.
Lagos-based THISDAY reported that the shooting occurred shortly after midnight when Mohammed, who ought to have left for Police College, Oji River, on Monday, for promotional training course, went to the house of the deceased at Okpara Avenue, GRA, knocked on his door and shot him dead immediately the door was opened for him.
But it did not end there. Eyewitnesses said that after the killing, the trigger happy officer embarked on a shooting spree firing at every direction and shouting “if you are a soldier come out, everybody come out” thereby sending his fellow security officers scampering for safety.
From Okpara Avenue end of the Government House, Mohammed, who was dressed in a flowing gown and turban, shot his way into the main gate of Government House targeting soldiers and policemen stationed there.
“It appeared his (Mohammed’s) aim was to kill as many officers as he could,” said a police officer who witnessed the incident, adding that “everybody avoided being hit by the flying bullets”.
While the shooting lasted, residents of Government Reservation Area (GRA) were forced to stay awake as sounds of gunfire tore through the still air of the night. There was panic in the Government House and all the surrounding areas.
What could have been a carnage was however averted when Mohammed was eventually overpowered by a courageous constable. But instead of heeding his call for assistance to subdue Mohammed, other policemen and soldiers were firing.
Afraid of being killed, the officer wrestling with Mohammed abandoned him and ran for his own life. Having got a respite, Mohammed was said to have sprang up and grabbed his AK 47 and started another round of shootings but he was finally incapacitated when bullets hit him on the chest and back.
Head of Accident and Emergency Department at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Umuahia, Dr. Uche Aguocha, told newsmen that Mohammed was brought to the hospital unconscious.
Aguocha said the deceased, whose body was deposited at the FMC mortuary, was brought in dead, adding that the dead officer was shot at a very close range with the intention to kill him instantly.
“From the type of injury on the one who was shot in the head, there was no chance of survival,” he said.
The state police spokesperson, Geoffrey Ogbonna (an assistant superintendent of police), confirmed the incident, saying the police had launched an investigations into the matter.
At a press briefing at the Government House, a media aide to the governor, Mr. Ugochukwu Emezue, said what happened was a “personal matter” between the officers concerned, adding that Governor Orji was already addressing the issue.
According to him, the governor was holding a security meeting with the relevant security agencies to address the situation.