Yenagoaâ€”Tension yesterday flared in the densely populated Swali suburb of Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, when the remain of a man allegedly pursued to death by some policemen was fished out of the river by local divers.
The deceased, identified as a video CD hawker, it was learnt, met his untimely death after he plunged into the river Wednesday night shortly after the Nigeria-Germany match at the ongoing U-20 World Cup in Egypt.
Sources told Vanguard that there was a disturbance in the area after the match, prompting the intervention of the police.
The security men were said to have engaged some of the youths, including the deceased, who, in a bid to evade arrest, ran towards the river and plunged in.
Troubled by the development, the residents were Thursday morning said to have solicited the assistance of local divers to comb the river, and this led to the recovery of the bloated body of the yet-to-be identified video CD hawker.
Aggrieved members of the public, including several street hawkers, took the bloated corpse to the A Division Police Station where it was dumped in front of the station, while they ensured that the police took charge of their responsibility.
â€œThe police must take this body because they killed an innocent man who was struggling to find his daily bread,â€ an aggrieved resident said.
The timely intervention of some senior police officers and the police community relations committee in the area, however, prevented the situation from degenerating to a crisis point by making quick arrangement to evacuate the corpse from the scene, so the crowd of angry sympathisers could disperse.
But the State Police Command denied complicity in the death of the hawker.
The command Public Relations Officer, Mr. Thaddeus Nkoko, said the police did not chase the deceased whose body had been deposited at the morgue of the Federal Medical Centre, as being claimed by some residents.
Nkoko, who gave the police version of the incident, said its men did not pursue anybody to death.
Confirming that some citizens brought a corpse to the A Division Police Station in a wheel-barrow, Nkoko said there had been some disturbance in the area after the Nigeria-Germany match on Wednesday night.
â€œThey said after the match, some people were causing trouble, he was among the people, not that the police killed him, he probably couldnâ€™t swim. The police could not have killed him,â€ Nkoko said.
He noted that after his arrival at the station, the police, together with the members of the community relations committee, decided to bring the situation under immediate control by removing the corpse and the wheel-barrow from the station.
â€œWe moved the body to the mortuary to decongest the police station,â€ he said, adding that the situation was under control.