Tragic Misfire: Rivers Mourning as Father of 3 Falls to Stray Bullet - The Trent

2023-08-09 18:46:20

The Trent

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria - A police officer allegedly shot and killed Olafuro Peterside, a father of three, during a family outing.

The police officer, part of the Police Mobile Force, 43 Squadron based in Gombe State, was on special duty in Rivers.

He was accompanied by another officer when the incident occurred.

Rivers State Police Command spokesperson, Superintendent Grace Iringe-Koko, confirmed the incident Saturday, August 5, 2023, stating the officers had responded to an alarm raised by residents about a robbery in progress.

"From the information at my disposal, the man was with his family. There was an incident of robbery in the area, so the policemen shot into the air in response to the alarm raised," Iringe-Koko said. "So I think a stray bullet hit the man."

The two officers at the scene of the incident have been arrested and are being questioned.

The case has been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department for a comprehensive investigation.

Iringe-Koko stressed that the officers were part of the PMF 43-Squadron based in Gombe but were attached to special duty in Rivers State.

While condemning the tragic incident, she called for calm and assured the public that a thorough investigation would be conducted.

The tragic death of Peterside marks yet another instance of civilian casualties in police operations, bringing the issue of police handling of firearms and operational tactics into focus.

This incident adds to the urgency for reassessing police rules of engagement to prevent such unfortunate incidents.

As the investigation unfolds, many will be watching closely to see how the Rivers State Police handles the matter, especially regarding accountability and justice for the bereaved family.

An Edo State Magistrate Court has dismissed charges against a tricycle rider for riding in a Government Reserved Area, GRA, and against a man for videoing a police arrest, highlighting concerns over police overreach and a lack of due process.

Brighton Odion, riding his tricycle along Limit Road in Benin City, was arrested on July 26, 2022, by the Nigeria Police Force's New Etete Division, accused of violating a governor's order restricting tricycle movement in that area.

He was charged when he refused to bribe the police.

Mr. Vision Nelson was also arrested and charged for taking pictures of Odion's arrest, being accused of being an unregistered photographer and unlicensed journalist, and for using his Android phone to record the event.

However, the court ruled in favor of both defendants, striking out the charges against them.

The Chief Magistrate in Evbuoriaria Magistrate Court 5, Sapele Road, Benin City, declared that "videoing or recording in a public place is not an offence, citizens have rights to do recordings anywhere, anytime."

Furthermore, the magistrate stated that no law in Edo State prohibits or restricts tricycle movement on major roads or streets.

The case was struck out for lack of merit, as the police could not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Edo Civil Society Organisations, EDOCSO, welcomed the judgment, stating that justice might be delayed but can never be denied.

They called on the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force to ensure properly trained and educated personnel man divisions to avoid such embarrassment.

The group also expressed frustration with what appears to be the police's tendency to charge suspects without considering the final implications, leading to the wastage of time and resources on frivolous pursuits of non-existent criminal cases.

EDOCSO's statement also made clear that any further harassment of tricycle riders in Edo state by police officers would be seen as contempt of court, and they will ensure the full wrath of the law takes its course.

This case serves as a reminder of the importance of proper legal process and police accountability.

It underlines the need for comprehensive police training and adherence to the rule of law, and it illustrates the essential role of civil society organisations and the courts in upholding citizens' rights.

2023-08-09 News