A mob on Monday razed a branch of Zenith bank at Mpape, Abuja following the shooting of a taxi driver and a lady passenger to death by a policeman attached to the bank.
The incident, which almost got out of hand also, consumed nine cars belonging to the bank and its members of staff, while the ATM machine was looted and set on fire.
The two persons were rushed to an undisclosed hospital, but unconfirmed reports said they later died of gun injuries. Trouble started when the policeman accidentally shot the taxi driver who had parked in front of the bank for his passenger to alight. The bullet also hit the female passenger, which led to her death; and this triggered the riot and attack on the bank.
Lorry load of policemen and soldiers were later brought to control the situation.
The Federal Capital Territory Commissioner of Police, John Haruna told journalists that “the policeman at the centre of the crisis has been taken into custody,” stressing that there were certain conditions that must be met before firearms could be used, but these conditions were not satisfied before the policeman fired his weapon.” The Mpape Divisional Police Officer, Imran Balarabe said he was at home when the incident happened but was informed by the Divisional Crime Officer via a phone call around 8 am. “I quickly dashed to the scene, only to see hundreds of angry people attacking the bank and attempting to break into the banking hall.” He said. The DPO said the information he had was that the gun went off when the policeman hit his rifle against the car to urge the taxi driver not to park in front of the bank, adding that the rifle may not have been cocked. However, Igwebuike Ugwueze, an artisan whose workshop is directly opposite the bank explained to NEXT that he heard a gunshot and saw the policeman speeding away as he was hotly chased by the mob.
“The policemen escaped into a bus which took off, then the people mobilised and started stoning the bank before setting it on fire. I learnt that some people suffered gunshot wounds, but I didn’t see any dead bodies,” he said.
NEXT observed money bands littering the frontage of the bank as well as expended shells on the ground.