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Traders flee as youth protest turns violent

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From Sunny Nwankwo, Aba

Shop owners at Opobo road junction and their counterparts on Aba-Ikot Ekpene Expressway in Abia State were forced to close business on Thursday as a peaceful protest turned violent.

Youths of Umuokpo village in Obingwa Local Government were protesting the alleged murder of one of them, Onyekachi Nwaogu, by Robinson Abel of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in  Akwa Ibom State.

It was gathered some boys began looting shops.

Sources said the traders hurriedly shut their shops.

Policemen and soldiers stopped them from entering the city centre with Nwaogu’s body in a wheelbarrow. They recovered the body from the youth.

NSCDC said it was investigating Nwaogu’s alleged murder.

Commandant Samuel Fadeyi addressed reporters on Thursday at Abia State headquarters in Umuahia.

He said the shooting occurred when miscreants accosted a Hilux van with two expatriate workers and tried to extort money from them.

Otobong, a security protocol to the expatriates, came out of the vehicle to clear the road.

He said: “As soon as the boys saw him, they turned violent …but the officer fired a warning shot to scare them.

“Rather than clear from the road, the miscreants attacked him. It was during the scuffle his gun fired and hit the deceased.

“When Nwaogu fell, Otobong carried him into the van and drove to a nearby hospital. But, unfortunately, the boy died.

‘’Youths then mobilised to the hospital, attacked Otobong and burnt the Hilux. It took the intervention of military personnel at a checkpoint to recover the gun and rescue Otobong.

“He is critically ill  and doctors are battling to save his life.”

Fadeyi condoled Akwa Ibom command, the bereaved family, government and people of Abia  at the unfortunate incident.

Abia State Commandant Nnamdi Nwannukwu said the command intervened to ensure the matter did not escalate.

The commandants appealed to parents to restrain their children and wards from indulging in criminal and illegal acts, promising to investigate the alleged murder and ensure justice.

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