Tension is mounting at the Millar Waterside area of Warri, Delta State, as boat operators yesterday protested against the killing of a fellow boat operator named Akpobolokaemi Duke, a native of Enekorogha Community in Burutu local council, by Marine Police personnel on October 1.
It was gathered that the deceased was coming to Warri to ferry passengers back to the riverine communities when he was allegedly shot by the Marine Police team.
According to reports, he was shot for earlier refusing to pay a bribe demanded by the police team patrolling the Warri River. It was learnt that as soon as he was sighted from afar the policemen gave him a hot pursuit with sporadic gunshots, which led to the death of the deceased.
When contacted yesterday, the Delta State police command said it was investigating the incident and would make a pronouncement after a thorough investigation.
Meanwhile, human rights lawyer and national coordinator of the Foundation for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Crusade (FHRACC), Alaowei Cleric, said the unprovoked murder of the boat operator because he refused to pay a bribe should not go unpunished and urged the Commissioner of Police to bring the policemen involved in the killing to book.
He said: “The unprovoked killing of a law-abiding citizen by the police is unlawful and such act must not go unpunished. The perpetrators of this brutal murder of Akpobolokaemi Duke must be brought to book. We are calling on the Commissioner of Police to immediately investigate the incident and punish the culprits appropriately.
“Let the Police build public confidence by checkmating incidences of extra-judicial killings. Now that the Inspector-General of Police has ordered the dismantling of roadblocks on the roads, we appeal to the police hierarchy to also order immediate withdrawal of the police patrol teams from the creeks since they are becoming a tool of extortion.
“The police have not told us on their side of the story as our team of investigators were not allowed to interrogate them at the Marine Police division. However, in our independent investigation, we discovered that the Marine Police actually has a squad in the river, which specialises in extorting money from transport boats along Warri river. Mr. Akpobolokaemi was one their victims of unlawful extortion in the river. We do not know why they chose to murder him in cold blood.”