FOOTBALL

Nigeria: football fan shot dead during brawl in Ebonyi State

A fan named as Obinna Igwe was shot after violence broke out involving supporters and police at the Unity Cup final in the Ikwo area of Ebonyi State.

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Nigeria: football fan shot dead during brawl in Ebonyi State

A football fan identified as Obinna Igwe has been shot dead during a brawl involving policemen and a football team on Thursday at the Ikwo local government area of Ebonyi State, Nigeria.

The fracas occurred during the final of the Unity Cup, a competition organised by the Ikwo Local Government Area at an urban secondary school, between Ndufu Alike FC and Ndufu Echara FC.

According to Today.ng, two other football fans sustained bullet wounds, while two police officers were critically injured.

Football at a low point

An eyewitness told reporters that the argument started when the central referee at the match issued a red card to an Ndufu Alike player, which resulted in his team conceding a goal.

“The development did not go down well with the dismissed player as he returned to the pitch and launched attack on the centre referee along with other players on the bench,” the anonymous eyewitness said.

As they attacked the referee, a police officer on the field started shooting into the air to disperse the crowd. The situation made the people to start running towards the gate of the school, but another police officer opened fire on them and injured many. The victims were later taken to hospital."

Police intervention

Loveth Odah, the police spokesperson, alleged that the Igwe was shot when he was trying to snatch a rifle from one of the policemen.

“The Ikwo Police Division received a distress call that the fans were assaulting the referee and our officers led by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) rushed to the match venue,” Mrs. Odah said.

“When they tried to rescue the referee from the fans’ onslaught, the fans left the referee and started attacking our officers. They started struggling with officers’ rifles and when they collected one, the DPO fired into the air to scare them and save his officers. One person was incidentally shot during the melee as the fans thoroughly prepared to attack us by arming themselves with dangerous weapons.”

Odah expressed that normality had returned to the area after more police officers were deployed to prevent a further breakdown, and added that an officer involved in the shooting has been arrested and is due to undergo orderly room trial.