There is noticeable fear and tension in Kogi State as youths of Umomi community in the Ofu Local Government Area of the state, are said to be planning serious reprisal attacks after some policemen attached to the Ugwolawo Division, opened fire on a crowd of youths while on a peaceful protest, killing two of them instantly, before fleeing the scene in their patrol vehicle.
According to an eyewitness who was part of the group, the youths of the community were protesting the unjust arrest and detention of some residents, including a retired police officer identified as Peter Adama, by the police, on some trumped up charges by officers attached to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
A resident of the community, Jeremiah Idege, narrated that the SARS operatives swooped on the community after some Fulani herdsmen reported that their cows had been killed by some residents, and arrested their kinsmen.
However, Idege claimed that the allegation was false, insisting that the herdsmen had actually invaded and destroyed the community’s farmland.
“We have issues with the Fulani herdsmen and that has been on for as long as 15 years. They have been destroying our farmland with reckless abandon. As I speak with you, our community is wrecked.
The little we have left was ravaged again by their cows recently and we reported the matter at the Ugwolawo Police Division. We were given four policemen to follow us to assess the level of damage done to our crops.
Later, the police said we should come to a roundtable meeting with the herdsmen so they could resolve the case; but we refused. We just asked them to leave in peace.
If we collect any money from them, they will say they have bought the lands and they will completely take over what we have left.”
The youths were said to be marching to the division to demand for the release of their kinsmen when the trigger happy policemen opened fire on them and fled the scene.
The corpses of the murdered youths were said to have been abandoned on the road until the Ata of Igala, Michael Idakwo, arrived at the scene and urged that the victims’ families should take them away for burial.