The deceased, Mrs. Ebelechukwu Emeka (38), of Igbuala Ifite Dunu in Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra State, suspecting that the driver of her lorry was not making complete delivery, reported the matter to the police.
The policeman, who went with her to effect arrest of the driver, was said to have been searching the lorry with Ebelechukwu, when his rifle, which was corked, exploded and a bullet hit the complainant.
The woman died on the spot. Immediately the policeman realised that he had killed his complainant, he ran into the nearest bush. When youths in the community found him hiding him in the bush, they stripped and almost lynched him.
It was learnt that Ebelechukwu, along with her husband, went to meet their driver, who allegedly refused to make full delivery of money he worked for on that day.
The Chairman of Aborji Youth, Oba Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State, Chief Uche Ezeani, where the incident occurred, described the matter as an accident.
Ezeani explained that the policeman came with the woman and her husband to collect delivery money from their truck driver, when the incident occurred.
He said: “I heard that the conductor, who works with the driver of the truck Mercedes Benz M119 reported to the couple that the driver used to hide money in the vehicle. When the husband and wife got to where the vehicle was parked, they entered into the lorry to search it.
The inspector, who was armed, also joined them in searching the vehicle for any hidden money. In the process, the gun trigger was touched and a bullet was released. The bullet hit the woman. She was rushed to the hospital but was confirmed dead.
“I was walking pass when I saw a crowd. As a community leader, it was my duty to find out what was happening. I saw a woman lying on the ground. When I approached them, they told me that a policeman shot the woman. After shooting her, the policeman ran into the nearby bush.
The youth went into the bush and after a while, found and dragged the policeman out. After I heard what really happened, I prevented the youth from touching him. I instructed them to take him to the police station.”
The Chairman, Human Rights Defenders (HRDN), Mr. Dede Uzor Uzor, commended the Oba Aborji executive members led by Nze Dozie Nweke, the youth leader, Mazi Tony Ezeani and the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Ojoto Police Station for the roles they played after the incident and in calming the restive youth.
He said: “It was a case of a recalcitrant police officer’s inability to properly place his gun in its protective chamber, leading to reckless shooting. If not that the policeman was quickly rescued and given protection, the youth would have lynched him.”
Uzor appealed to the state Commissioner of Police, for discreet investigation over the matter with the hope of bringing the killer to justice.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Haruna Mohammed, said the police inspector was attached to Operation Nkpochapu patrol team and was on duty on Owerri-Oba Road, when he accidentally pulled the trigger of his rifle, without applying safety catch.