Three young people who were on a protest match have been allegedly shot dead by Nigerian Army personnel in the Afokpella community of Etsako East Local Government, Edo State.
The two cement factories that operate in the neighbourhood, BUA Cement Company and Dangote Cement, were the targets of the protesting youngsters as they complained of extortion and underemployment.
Oyegwu Anasala Afoso, 29, and David Agbagie, along with one other person whose identity is still unknown, were the victims of the tragedy.
The army officers, who were “power-drunk”, reportedly stopped family members of the victims from taking them to the hospital after the soldiers had shot them dead.
Many other youths suffered different types of bullet wounds apart from the three people who were killed.
Princess Natasha, a relative of the late Oyegwu, took to her Twitter account to lament the horrible murder. She claimed that her cousin was murdered on Monday at a community-organized protest against their leaders, the BUA Cement Company, and Dangote Cement.
According to Natasha, the young people in the community were just protesting the chiefs’ decision to reduce their monthly salary by 40%.
She added that Oyegwu was a temporary employee at the two cement factories in the neighbourhood up until his death.
Natasha said he died at home. Narrating the incident to Natasha just before he passed away, Oyegwu said someone had pointed at him, and the soldiers shot him. She added that her cousin was a cheerful and laid-back person. He was also full of life and did not deserve to die like that.
Tweeting via her Twitter account, @Nashbals, Natasha wrote that the youths were protesting against the leaders in the community who were taking N30,000 out of the N80,000 that cement companies were paying them.
She narrated that her cousin, whom she had seen when she travelled to her village for her introduction, was very “quiet but vibrant in his own way. “He’s not a cultist, he’s not a thief, he’s not a troublemaker. In fact, he was sitting in front of the house (where he always sits)” but she had woken up to the news that he had been shot by the Nigerian soldiers.
She added that he could have survived because he was shot in the thigh, but the soldiers would not allow anyone to leave, as they surrounded the house. When they eventually left, it was too late and he bled to death.
While pleading for justice for his murdered brother, Abanako, another protester, said that the innocent man was his brother and that he was not part of the protesters.
Abanako also added that security personnel, including the police and army, had been officially informed, in writing, prior to the protest, and they agreed.
However, he said that the security personnel later assembled armed soldiers, police officers, and NSCDC representatives, and they began firing at them. Several people were shot, while the others ran away.
Corroborating Natasha’s story, Abanako noted that the soldiers afterward came back for a second round of shootings. But they had already put an end to the protest at that moment, so they were unsure of the reason for the second shooting. He then added that his brother, who chose not to take part in the protest, was shot at that time.
The community member known as Imofin was also taken away, according to Abanako, who also stated that soldiers reportedly killed Agbagie. He added that Imofin’s whereabouts have been unknown since Monday.