Angry kinsmen of Shooting Stars central defender Izu Joseph, who was reportedly killed by soldiers, at Okarki community in Ahoada West Local Government area of Rivers State on Sunday, painted skark details of the last moments of the footballer before he died after being shot.
This is even as the leadership of the Operation Delta Safe (ODS) has said the probe of the soldiers that were said to have shot the deceased is underway.
According to the clan head of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), Goodleaf Osineme, the Deputy Youth Leader of the Community, Abie Samson and Comrade Jonah Wisdom, the late Izu was shot twice in the leg and the mid- region despite pleading that was a footballer.
“When Izu heard the commotion and the gun shots, he stepped out and he was stopped at gun point by one of the soldiers. When he identified himself as a footballer and brought out his identification card, he was shot in the leg. Despite the gun shot he was still pleading for his life. Another soldier came and shot in the stomach,” Wisdom said.
Wisdom stated that the soldiers dragged him towards the Orashi River, about some meters away, and dumped his body in there. He also claimed that the soldiers shot a 21-year-old man, who was trying to swim across the river.
“Okarki has been known as a peaceful community and we have never had any case of criminality. The Federal Government must investigate and fish out the soldiers behind the gruesome murder of our sons and star.”
Akin Anthony, who said he escaped death by the whiskers said Izu had few minutes before he was killed shared N1,000 each to almost 28 youths and women as he normally did when he come to town.
“He was telling us that he was invited to the camp of the Super Eagles and he had to resume on Monday 17th. He asked someone to go to his house and get his packed bag. But before the boy he sent came, he was shot by soldiers.”
The acting coordinator of the Joint Media Campaign Centre (JMCC), Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Oagr Otuji, who confirmed the probe of the soldiers, said the ODS would do everything to uncover the truth about the shooting.
He appealed for calm, noting that the military is a professional organisation that would not shield any soldier that has committed a crime.
Meanwhile, residents of Okarki community have recovered the corpse of a 21-year-old man, identified as Oko Osuekina.
According to the indigenes, the deceased was shot in the head by soldiers after they had killed Izu.
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) in a statement by is secretary Eric Oamre has said that the killing of the two Ijaw youths has been received with shock and sadness across the community.
The IYC condemned the killing, saying it brings to the fore the disdain with which the Nigerian military regarded Niger Deltans.
“To demonstrate the impunity and unprofessional attitude of the military officers in the Niger Delta, the IYC leadership has just been informed by the IYC Clan Chairman of Ediro/Ogbologbo Clan, Mr. Solomon Harrison, that at the time of issuing this press statement, the entire Okarki community is tense because the military was in the community intimidating villagers all through the night and shot sporadically into the community.”
“The IYC is at a loss as to the justification for the military impunity in Okarki Community. The military is behaving as if the Ijaw people of Okarki are not human beings. Our people are been treated like animals that must be killed with impunity. The IYC has always known the unprofessional attitude of the Nigerian military, hence we have been advocating against military action in the Niger Delta region,” the statement said.