A police officer attached to Delta state Oil Producing Area Development Commission (DESOPADEC) is currently in critical condition at University Teaching Hospital Oghara, Delta state after being shot by his own colleague in the leg in attempt to disperse protesting workers of the Commission on Tuesday.
The police officer whose identity remain uncleared work as subordinate to one ASP Lucas Medudu who allegedly gave the order to his colleagues to shoot and teargas DESOPADEC Staff at the Commission’s headquarters in Warri.
Our source revealed that the police officer who was also trying to disperse the protesters was hit by bullet fired at closed range by the over zealot policemen who released both teargas canister and gun shots during the protest which entered day-3 on Thursday.
The officer, though was immediately rushed to Warri Central Hospital, has since been transferred to University Teaching Hospital Oghara, Ethiope West Local Government Area following the devastating degree of injuries sustained from the shooting.
Unconfirmed report says the police officer’s leg which was seriously blasted by the shot may be amputated as he was badly injured, an eyewitness said, adding that the officer would be under going surgical operation on the leg to correct the damage.
Reacting to the development, a staff of the Commission, who simply gave her name as Mrs Betty Onokurefe said that the intention of the policemen was to injure staff and make the protest violent but thanked God that no staff was hurt to that magnitude.
According to Matthew Magege, the Secretary to the AUPCTRE Union, DESOPADEC branch, the police detachment reportedly hired certain elements to foment trouble by way of throwing stones at the Board members to pave way for the police to start shooting and arresting the leaders of the protest.
“This was meant to create a violent scenario to justify any police action, he added.
Another source said that earlier on day one of the protest, “Lucas tried this method of creating a violent scene when he wilfully brought out the clocking machine outside the gate to where the protesting staff were gathered.
“His motive was for the staff to make attempts to destroy the machine so the ‘blood thirsty’ Lucas Medudu could have a field day shooting at staff but his plans boomeranged against him when they shot their own officer”.
Meanwhile, one of the Directors of the Commission who spoke anonymously has dismissed claims that gun shots were used to disperse the protesting workers, insisting that no gun shot was fired that fateful day.
According to him, the protesters who were mainly junior staff of the Commission assaulted both Senior and management staff for a protest that ought to have been handled amicably without resorting to violent.
He said that the protesters resorted to violence hence police details responded by using teargas to disperse them which unfortunately hit a police officer on duty post.
“No single bullet was fired. Rather it was teargas canister that bounced and hit his leg. Teargas was used when the protest became violent with Senior and management staff that are not members of Auctre ( a purely junior staff union) were harassed and assaulted.
“The entry to the office complex was blocked and vehicular movement along the Warri Sapele road was disrupted. But for the Police timely action, hell would have been let loose and colossal damage done to senior staff and other road users alike”.
However BigPen Online learnt that management of commission on Thursday afternoon met with the leadership of workers union with intent to resolve the crisis but the meeting ended in deadlocked as the commission’s Board chairman, Mr Godwin Ebosa who have been in abroad and the Managing Director, Olorogun William Makinde were not on seat to address the grievances of the workers.