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‘We mistook him for armed robber’ – Police admit killing Enugu lawyer in error

The Kogi State Police Command has admitted complacency in the killing of Barrister Elias Ugwu last week Friday.

It admitted that the Nsukka-based lawyer was killed in error.

It was reported that Barr Ugwu’s shocking death threw the entire people of Nsukka and the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, into serious mourning.

In a statement by its Public Relations Officer, SP. Williams Anya on Thursday in Lokoja, the police said they mistook the late lawyer to be a member of the armed robbery gang that robbed some banks a day earlier.

Barrister Ugwu was killed in Anyigba last week Friday by policemen while he was in the state to pay ransom for his cousin who was kidnapped some days back.

The police statement titled: “Setting the record straight” partly read, “It would be recalled that, on 07/03/2024, Armed Robbers invaded Anyigba in Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State and robbed three Banks and also attacked Police Stations. A Tactical Team was deployed to the Area to restore normalcy and trail the hoodlums with a view to apprehending and bringing them to deserved justice.

“The Tactical Team received a report that some persons were sighted in a bush around Alade Village in Dekina Local Government with an Ox-blood Toyota Avalon Car roaming up and down for two days or more asking the villagers for directions around the place where two vehicles and two motorcycles abandoned by the armed robbers were recovered.

“The operatives promptly swung into action and in conjunction with the local vigilantes moved into the Area. When they sighted the car already described by the villagers, they waved down the driver to stop but instead, zoomed off.

“In a bid to stop the car, shots were fired at the tyres of the car which brought it to a halt. It was then discovered that the car conveyed three persons, (the driver and two others).

“The two men gave their names as Chidi Anieke and Elias Ugwu both of Nkanu and Ihiakpoka, Nsukka, while the driver was identified as Barr. Elias Ugwu. The driver sustained injury and was taken to the Maria Goretti Hospital Anyigba for treatment where he gave up the ghost. The two surviving men stated that they were in Alade bush in Dekina Local Government for ransom payment to secure the release of a victim of kidnapping.

“They equally stated that they were not aware of the bank robbery that took place in Anyigba, Dekina Local Government and that they did not report or inform the police of the alleged kidnap incident nor of their presence or mission in that area, hence they were suspected to be part of the hoodlums that invaded Anyigba on 7th March, 2024.

“The Commissioner of Police, Kogi State Police Command, extends his condolences to the family of the deceased over the unfortunate incident which was avoidable if they had stopped when they were waved down by the police who were with their patrol vehicle at the scene.”

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