A security outfit, which is backed by the Cross River State Government, on Thursday, shot dead a student at the Cross River University of Technology, Calabar.
The security outfit, Operation Akpakwu, comprises the Nigerian Navy, Air Force, Police, Army, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, and the State Security Service (SSS).
The identity of the slain student is unknown for now, and the circumstances of the killing remained unclear at the time of filing this report.
Vanguard newspaper, apparently unaware of those responsible for killing, described the security operatives as “gunmen” in its report of the incident.
The newspaper quoted a source who said the slain student was seated and chatting with friends when the “gunmen” came for him.
“We were strolling past the Engineering Faculty when we saw some students sitting in a group and chatting, and from nowhere, a Sienna car drove towards them and one of the students stood up and ran. Some young men stepped out of the car and chased after him,” Vanguard quoted the source, who said the student was shot from behind.
When the student fell down, the men went close to confirm he was dead. They fired a shot on his chest and then used his shirt to cover his face, the paper reported, relying on its source.
The Vanguard quoted the source as saying that the men took a bag belonging to the slain student and took off in their car.
Police spokesperson in Cross River State, Irene Ugbo, told PREMIUM TIMES, Friday, that the information available to the police is that the student was shot by men suspected to be SSS operatives.
“Not yet confirmed, anyway,” she added. “We are investigating it.”
The SSS spokesperson, Peter Afunanya, said it was not true the SSS killed the student.
‘We did it’
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary, Special Services in the Governor’s Office, Calabar, Alfred Mboto, admitted to PREMIUM TIMES that the security outfit, Operation Akpakwu, killed the student, whom he said was declared wanted by the Cross River State Government for alleged murder of a fellow student and other persons.
Mr Mboto, whose office coordinates Operation Akpakwu, said the killing cannot be attributed to SSS or any particular security agency, but to Operation Akpakwu which he said is a “joint security agency”.
“The joint team was on patrol when they got a tip-off that he was there to kill some students. Akpakwu went in there and as they were trying to arrest him, he opened fire on them. There was an exchange of fire,” he said, implying the student was killed during a shootout with the security outfit.
He said the student was a cultist.
The spokesperson of the Cross River University of Technology, Onen Onen, declined comment on the incident, saying the vice chancellor would speak on it “the moment the situation is ascertained”.
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