By Kalu Onyemaechi
The death of Miss Chidimma Ezeanochie, 20, of Umudansu Village, Azia Community in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra has generated fierce arguments between the Police and the Community.
Chidimma was shot to death on November 25 while running an errand for her mother in the company of her 14-year-old brother.
The community in a petition to the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, accused the police of directly shooting the girl at close range while her brother escaped narrowly.
The police have refuted the allegation. The petition is entitled: “Gruesome murder of Miss Chidimma Ezeanochie by policemen of Special Unit deployed from Awka to Orsumoghu on Nov. 25, 2021’’.
It is signed by Dr Tonna Nwabueze, President-General of Azia General Assembly.
The community described the murder as gruesome, wicked and totally unacceptable to it and demanded for justice from the police hierarchy.
According to the petition, Chidimma and her brother were shot at, at close range by a team member of the Special Unit from inside an armoured vehicle.
“Fortunately the brother was spared, but the bullet scattered our daughter’s head with the brain matter on the ground.
“She died instantly. It’s quite unimaginable because there was no form of provocation that could be linked to this.
“Presently her body is deposited at a hospital morgue at Okija, Anambra.
“About 100 meters from the site of this incident, the police equally opened fire on a Sienna Space Bus parked by a block industry.
“We contacted the Area Commander of the police on this and he told us that the policemen are a Special Unit from Awka deployed in Orsumoghu against the proscribed Independent Peoples of Biafra boys,’’ it stated.
Reacting to the petition, however, the police in Anambra condoled with the family of Miss Chidimma, but exonerated themselves from her murder.
In a statement signed by DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, Police Public Relations Officer, the police denied the community’s claim.
Ikenga stated that earlier on that day, a police escort team consisting of seven policemen and three civilian drivers traveling through Azia/Osumoghu Road was ambushed by some armed men.
He added that two police officers were killed in the attack and their bodies burnt while one of the officers was still missing.
According to him, the peddlers of the misinformation about Chidinma’s death anchored their claims on the fact that they saw an Armoured Personnel Carrier passing through Azia/Osumoghu junction when the alleged incident happened.
“The police rescue team on arrival at Azia/Osumoghu junction came under indiscriminate shooting with Improvised Explosive Devices thrown at their vehicles by hoodlums who earlier attacked a police escort team.
“Police operatives repelled the attack and recovered two earlier stolen rifles belonging to the police; throughout the operation no innocent citizen, talk less of children were sighted in the area.
“It is therefore a surprise to hear about the death of an innocent lady who may have been killed by the indiscriminate firing by the insurgents,’’ Ikenga stated.
Ikenga added that Mr Echeng Echeng, the Commissioner of Police in Anambra was saddened by the incident and extended his hearty condolences to the bereaved family.
Echeng assured that the police, in synergy with sister security forces and host communities, would work to put an end to insecurity in that part of the state and ensure that such incidents did not reoccur.