A police officer has been killed during a clash between operatives of the Delta State Police Command and youth and commercial motorcyclists otherwise known as Okada riders in Ughelli, Delta State.
The youth said they were protesting against intimidation, harassment and extortion by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police officers in the area.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, in a statement said Corporal Etaga Stanley was killed and his weapon, a rifle and ammunition stolen, in Delta State on Thursday during the #ENDSARS protest.
The Inspector-General of Police, Adamu Muhammed, had recently banned SARS and special units of the Force from patrols and mounting road blocks following a recent clash by men of the Operation Delta Safe and some youth in Ughelli.
It was learnt that the protest, which had been generally peaceful, turned violent after they had protested to the Police Area Command, Ughelli, at Otovwodo area of the city leading to the killing of a police officer.
The youth, who began their protest from Ekiugbo section of the Ughelli city, drove in a long convoy through the Ughelli Market, Ughelli Area Command, Isoko Road and other adjoining streets before fight broke out at Otovwodo Junction.
The protesting youth, who were joined by Okada riders, lamented police harassment and extortion, and called for an end to the activities of SARS.
The protest caused heavy vehicular traffic on the busy Ughelli-Patani section of East-West Road and the major roads in the town.
Commercial activities were temporarily grounded due to the #EndSARS protest.
“SARS should comply with the IGP’s prohibition and stop harassing people. After the IGP made the pronouncement, SARS and police officers are still mounting road blocks and harassing people in Ughelli. We want an end to SARS,” one protester said.
The IGP, Mr Adamu, has condemned the development, which also resulted in damage to police operational vehicles.
The statement by the force PRO described the violent attack on policemen that led to Mr Stanley’s death as unprovoked.
“The incident which resulted in the unfortunate death of one Police officer, Corporal Etaga Stanley attached to ‘A’ Division, Ughelli, Delta State who was attacked and brutally murdered by the protesters also left another, Sergeant Patrick Okuone with serious body injury sustained from gunshot by the protesters,” he said.
“The protesters also carted away one (1) service AK47 rifle with breach no 56-2609008 and 25 rounds of live ammunition that was with the deceased at the time of the incident.
“The IGP, who described the incident as cruel and unwarranted, has warned that the Force will no longer tolerate any attack on its personnel or any member of the law enforcement community by any individual or group protesting under any guise.
“The IGP notes that protest by citizens remain a legitimate means for airing their concerns and views. It must however be carried out with all sense of responsibility and within the confines of the law.
“The IGP, while condoling the family and friends of the late Corporal Etaga Stanley who paid the supreme price in the service of our dear nation, equally commended the officers of the Delta State Police Command for exercising restraint in the face of the immoral and unjustified provocation.”
Mr Mba said the IGP has directed the Commissioner of Police, Delta State, to carry out an investigation into the unfortunate incident, root out the perpetrators and bring the killer protesters to book.
There have been several protests across the country calling for the ban of SARS.