A member of vigilante group in Obadolovbiyeyi community in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State, Efe Igbnovia, has been shot dead by soldiers.
It was reported that a vigilante group which the deceased was a member, arrested some herdsmen for armed robbery along the Benin-Abraka expressway.
He was asked to watch over the arrested herdsmen while the other members of the group went in search of the other fleeing herdsmen.
Henry Osenwengie who witnessed the incident, said shortly after the other members of the vigilante group left, some armed men in military uniform arrived in a Honda car marked AP 641 KTN and fired at Igbinovia after which they set the arrested suspects free.
“Two of the herdsmen were caught. Igbinovia was asked to stay. Before then, the police had been called to come and pick them (herdsmen) because that is what we normally do.
Suddenly, a red Honda car with about four of them putting on military uniforms carrying AK47 rifles came and started shooting. Igbinovia shouted that he had been shot. When the other people (vigilantes) came back, they discovered that Igbinovia was already down. They (armed men) killed him and went away with two robbers. Robbers, most of whom are Hausa, usually operate there. They keep their cows by the side, block the road and start robbing.”
A family member of the deceased, Onaghise Willson, said after killing his cousin, the soldiers took the herdsmen to the hospital for treatment.
Confirming the incident, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Johnson Kokumo, said, “The herdsmen were alleged to have blocked the expressway. Two of them are with the police undergoing interrogation.
On the alleged killing of the vigilante by armed men in military uniforms, Kokumo said, “That is an allegation we are investigating. Actually, one of the vigilance members died in the course of duty.”
Meanwhile the Nigerian Army has reacted to claims that the deceased was killed by the army. According to the spokesperson for the 4 Brigade Command of the Nigerian Army, Capt. Mohammed Maidawa, troop deplored to Ologbo for pipeline protection received a tip off from locals closed to their location of suspected armed robbery activities. He said the troop mobilised to the scene and engaged armed men at the scene but unfortunately one person who was later identified as member of the vigilante was killed.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the vigilante group also responded to a distress call on the robbery operation. The vigilante started demonstration but the situation has been brought under control,”
The remains of the deceased has since been deposited in the morgue.