Different groups rose Monday to condemn the killing of an artisan and food vendor identified as Mrs. Precious Chioma Okwuadigbo by a security personnel said to be a naval officer.
It was learnt that the shooting and killing of the victim occurred within the environment of Club 64, a popular night club located at Baybridge, Yenagoa, the state capital.
Though the naval officer was said to be at large, sources said he emerged from the club drunk and had altercation with some persons at the scene of the incident.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The shooter came out of the club drunk. He had misunderstanding with some persons. He pulled out his pistol and shot into the air twice.
“He wanted to shoot the third time but the bullet strayed and hit the woman selling food at the area. She died before she could be taken to the hospital by sympathisers. The shooter ran away from the area”.
It was gathered that the club manager was arrested by the police but was later released when he insisted that the incident occurred outside his club.
He was said to have refused to name the officer, who according to some persons, was a regular customer at the club.
The Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) first condemned the incident and wondered why the woman, who was doing her legitimate business to feed her family, could be killed that way.
NAWOJ in a statement signed by its Chairperson, Maria Olodi-Osumah and Secretary, Grace Koinyan, said it was disheartening that the police were not treating the incident with seriousness.
Bayelsa State Chapter has condemned the gruesome murder of Mrs, Precious Chioma OKwuadigbo in the early hours of Saturday, at club 64, Baybridge while doing her legitimate business by alleged officers of the Nigerian Navy.
The statement said: It’s disheartening that Chioma OKwuadigbo at thirty Five years in her prime,life was snuffed out of her by security operatives who ought to protect her as a Nigerian.
“The pain and sorrow caused by the death of Mrs OKwuadigbo cannot be quantified as she left behind two children who still require the nurturing and love of a mother.
“Despite the fact that the incident had been reported to the police, no arrests have been made. Chioma’s death should not be swept away.
“We are therefore calling on the Nigeria Police to as a matter of urgency swing into action by arresting the officers involved, carry out thorough Investigation and ensure that the culprits are brought to book. That is the only way justice will be seen to be served.
“NAWOJ Bayelsa chapter commiserates with the family and the Ndi-igbo community in the state. We pray God comfort and grant you all the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss and also grant the soul of the faithful departed eternal rest”.
Also the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), Central Zone, appealed to security agents to thoroughly investigate the matter to fish out the culprits.
The Chairman of the zone, Olorogun Kennedy, a statement signed by his Information Officer, Kockman Kurobo, said the incident that occurred on Saturday deserved thorough investigation.
He said: “The Leadership of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Central Zone has condemned in strong terms the gruesome murder of a food vendor named, Mrs, Precious Chioma OKwuadigbo in the early hours of Saturday 1st February, 2020 at Baybridge, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State by alleged officers of the Nigerian Navy.
“The Nigeria security agents are primarily to protect life and property and not to see citizens as enemy, the killing of the 35 years old Mrs. Chioma leaving her two children without mother is disheartening.
“We urge security agents to do thorough investigation to ensure culprits of Chioma’s death are brought to book. We advise the medical department of the Nigerian Police to carry out autopsy to find out the possible causes of the innocent woman’s death.
“We advise patriotic citizens to feed security agents or the IYC useful information that led to her death as to ease further investigation. We also send our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families.”
Aggrieved by the development, hundreds of Igbo indigenes under the auspices of the Ohaneze Ndigbo held a peaceful protest in Yenagoa and called on the police to unmask the identity of the naval officer that killed the poor woman.
The aggrieved residents including the children of the deceased took their protest to the Bayelsa Police Command in Yenagoa.
The President of Ohaneze Youth Council (OYC), Chinedu Arthur Ugwa, urged the police to produce the killers of the woman and wondered how the children, who depended on their late mother could survive the incident.
A Deputy Commissioner of Police, Jide Kolawale, who received the protesters described the incident as unfortunate and sympathised with the deceased family.
“It is very unfortunate. Nobody prays for that kind of a thing, and the command is sending his condolences, to the family of the deceased. We have heard your complains, and we want to assure you that the Nigeria Police will not leave any stone unturned to make sure everything behind the death of precious is unraveled.
“It not like we don’t know what has happened. it is on record that we know what has happened. I just want to assure you that justice will be done. Whoever that’s behind the shooting, the killing of Precious, the person will be brought to book”.
It was, however, gathered that the incident agitated the Central Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy, which was said to be profiling its officers to know the authenticity of the claims that the shooter is a naval officer.
A naval officer, who spoke in confidence, said: “We are not taking this allegation lying low. On our part the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) has ordered for inventory of arms in the armory.
“The fact that no name has been mentioned has made it difficult to know whether the shooter is really from our command.
“We are appealing to members of the public and those aware of the incident to give us a name because we can’t shield anybody involved in that kind of conduct. If we get a name and confirm that the person is a naval officer, we will surely hand him over.”
The manager of Club 64 should be held responsible for the true identity of that officer since, according to the reports, he is one of his regular customers, and he knew him earlier before the incident.