A 27-year-old staff of De Choice Eatery in Umuahia has been shot dead by an official of the Abia State Vigilante Service(VGN) aka Bakassi, over a missing cell phone.
The deceased, identified as Izuchukwu Mbakwe, died after he was shot at close range by the vigilante guard. The incident happened in front of the eatery at Okpara Square, beside a new-generation bank on Sunday, March 26, 2023.
According to reports, Mbakwe, a native of Umuosu Okaiuga Nkwoegwu in Umuahia North Local Government, recently returned to Nigeria from Dubai and got a job at DE Choice fast food.
The late Izuchukwu Mbakwe was allegedly being owed 5 Months salary by the management of DE CHOICE fast food before his untimely death yesterday, March 26.
According to eyewitness reports, troubled started when a company-owned phone went missing at the restaurant.
Izuchukwu had arrived at work when the Internal Auditor summoned Vigilante Security Guards and demanded his arrest over the disappearance of the phone.
The guards allegedly stripped Izuchukwu Mbakwe accusing him of being responsible for the missing phone and beat him.
One of the guards then shot Izuchukwu in his leg causing injury to his femoral artery. The gunshots terrified other customers in the restaurant who took to their heels.
On realizing his action, the vigilante man reportedly removed his service uniform and tried to use it to stop the sea of blood that was gushing out of the victim’s body.
The victim was rushed to FMC Umuahia for treatment but he died having lost so much blood.
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Speaking to journalists at NUJ Press Centre in Umuahia on Monday March 27, the spokesperson of the Abia State Vigilante Service, Mr. Ben Uche, said the shooting was not a deliberate action but an accidental discharge from the personnel’s gun.
Mr. Uche said the security staff did not intend to kill the victim but was on a peace restoration mission when the accidental discharge happened.
According to the media officer, the late Izuchukwu had a disagreement with the manager of The Choice over alleged indebtedness to the victim by the manager.
He stated that the late Izuchukwu allegedly seized a phone belonging to the manager, insisting that he must be settled before he could release the phone which sparked a shouting match between the two men.
He further explained that the Abia State security outfit’s official in trying to stop the two men from fighting mistakenly torched the trigger of his service gun which hit the victim in the lower leg region and not his lap or abdomen.
Uche, who said the matter has been reported to the police, explained that his office is already investigating the incident even as the suspect has been arrested.
He commiserated with the family of the victim, noting that Abia State Vigilante Service was known for the security of lives and property in the state and not violence.