By Tony Edike
ENUGU-A Police Inspector attached to Enugu State Police Command, Mr. Elias Ikpo, was shot dead last Saturday by a gang of armed robbers operating along Enugu-Onitsha highway.
The victim was travelling with other passengers in one of the commuter buses from Enugu to Awka at about 7 am when they ran into the armed bandits operating around Onyeama Mine.
Sources said the robbers found the identity card of the police officer while searching the passengers and when they discovered that it belonged to the inspector who was in mufti, one of the gang members shot him at a close range.
The other passengers were said to have pleaded with the armed robbers to spare the life of the policeman, but their plea fell on deaf ears as one of them pulled the trigger and killed him instantly.
“We were begging them not to kill him, but they said it was dangerous leaving a police man alive, and they shot and he died on the spot,” an eyewitness said.
Ikpo was recently transferred from Enugu to Awka, capital of Anambra State, and was heading to his new duty station apparently to finalise his transfer process when he was killed by the robbers.
His corpse was later removed from the scene by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS of the state police command.
The State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr. Ebere Amaraizu, described the tragedy as unfortunate, explaining that the vehicle in which the passengers were travelling was ascending a hill around Onyeama Mine at Ninth Mile area when the robbers emerged from nearby bush and began to rob their victims.
The PPRO told reporters that the police, on getting to the scene of the incident, began a serious manhunt for the bandits during which they combed the entire bush but the bandits had escaped before the policemen arrived.
According to him, the command has spread its dragnet to ensure that the hoodlums are apprehended and brought to justice.
“It was a stray bullet that killed the man, and not necessarily that he was spotted and shot because he was an officer,” Amarizu said.