|Ohakim, Imo Gov.|
Briefing newsmen at the state police command, Owerri the out - going state Commissioner of Police, Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Aloysius Okorie said on the fateful day, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Owerri urban division received a distressed call that armed robbers were operating at the Aladinma Estate which compelled him to dispatch four armed policemen from the station.
Okorie explained that the policemen left with unmasked vehicle with a hired driver to locate the area the robbers were operating but were unable to do so before going to a nearby police station at Aladinma to pick a police officer to assist them to locate the actual place where the robbers said to be operating. He stated while the police team were combing the area, they sighted two vehicles, a Honda car and a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) coming in their opposite direction in a full speed. He added that the two vehicles, which were flagged down slowed down but later sped off.
According him, the two mobile policemen escorting the traditional ruler in a SUV on sensing that those who flagged them down might be armed robbers opened fire from the rear of the jeep in a commando style. The AIG further explained that the police patrol team retaliated with the belief that the men were the actual robbers they were trying to track down. “It was not until Monday morning of November 22 that the Honda vehicle was seen close to Aladinma Royal Suite with the traditional ruler slumped on the steering.”
The police chief disclosed that while the monarch tried to escape lost control of the vehicle and hit a tree at about 2.30 am, saying that, one of the policemen on the patrol team from Owerri urban divisional police station also sustained bullet wounds but was later treated at the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri. He further disclosed that the traditional ruler was returning from a political meeting at the residence of Chief Tony Chukwu in the town when the tragedy struck.
He dismissed insinuations making rounds that the death of the monarch had political motives, saying that police had commenced investigation and so far nobody had been fingered for his killing. Daily Sun last Monday broke the news of the death of Eze Emeka Njoku even as his kinsmen embarked on a peaceful demonstration on Tuesday at Government House, Owerri protesting his death.
Meanwhile, security had been beefed-up in all police stations across the state to forestall possible attack by hoodlums. Daily Sun reports that all policemen involved in the incident were currently detained at the police headquarters.