The Delta State Government, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, and others across Nigeria have called for investigation into the killing of a young man, Joseph Pessu, by army personnel in Warri, Delta State, on Thursday.
Pessu was killed while driving through the city in the midst of a stay-at-home order put in place by the state government to curtail the spread of Coronavirus.
Reacting to the incident, Commissioner for Information in Delta, Charles Aniagwu, in a statement, said the state government was worried about the matter.
He said, “The state government has sent a delegation to the deceased family to condole with them over the loss of their son.
“The military authorities have been contacted to carry out an investigation into what led to the killing of the deceased.”
On his part, Keyamo vowed to forward a petition to the relevant authorities for a thorough investigation with a view to bringing the officers, who perpetrated the dastardly act to book.
He said, “I have received disturbing reports and images of the high-handedness and shooting of innocent citizens by men of the armed forces deployed to enforce the COVID-19 lockdown in my state, Delta State.
“Specifically, I have received reports of the killing of an innocent young man, Mr Joseph Pessu, in Warri.
“I unreservedly condemn this barbaric act by men of the armed forces who should exercise restraint when dealing with the civilian populace.
“I will be forwarding a petition to the relevant authorities to thoroughly investigate this murder and bring the officer(s) to book.”
Also condemning the incident, human rights activist and lawyer, Ogaga Ifowodo, said the army authorities must bring those responsible for Pessu’s killing to justice.
He said, “A soldier, eager to save himself from a 28-year-old citizen, Mr Joseph Pessu, who was in the street, concluded that the only way to do so was to kill him.
“There is no report so far that Pessu was armed, but even if he had been and threatening the life of the soldier, it would still be shocking that the soldier did not choose the non-lethal option of shooting to disable at the leg or hand, if he must.
“The Chief of Army Staff and Inspector-General of Police must ensure that the murderous soldier is fished out from wherever he is currently hiding.
“The Federal and Delta State governments must not only show true contrition for this needless killing of a citizen but also compensate adequately the family of Joseph Pessu.”