On April 23, 2020 a policewoman, identified as Sergeant Lovender Elekwachi, attached to the Eneka Police Division of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria met her untimely death after she was shot by her fellow policeman at Eneka 1st Market Junction in Obio-Akpor Local Government Area of Port Harcourt.
According to eye witnesses, the incident happened when Sgt. Lovender Elekwachi confronted members of the Rivers State Taskforce Team who had been instructed to enforce the lockdown and movement restriction order imposed on some parts of the state.
Sgt. Elekwachi begged them in an attempt to stop them from destroying goods and property of traders at the Eneka 1st Market Junction when she was shot.
The policeman and member of the taskforce, identified as Bitrus Osaiah, was exchanging words with a shoe trader who was part of the numerous traders who had flouted the movement restrictions and were selling despite the lockdown order.
The policeman was seen pulling the shoe seller into a police pick-up van. This made the deceased policewoman who was a traffic warden at the Eneka 1st Market Junction to intercede on his behalf, asking the police officer to let him go.
The policeman, Britus Osaiah, momentarily let go of the trader’s shirt in order to aim his gun at the trader who had now bent down in order to pack up his wares and leave. According to witnesses, the policeman was heard saying “I will shoot you ooo” several times and suddenly fired a shot from his already uncocked gun. The bullet landed in the head of the police woman who died on the spot.
People around the market junction were enraged by the death of the policewoman whom they described as very kind and professional. They then channeled their anger towards arresting the members of the taskforce team who had wreaked havoc on their wares.
The body of the policewoman was covered by traders and passersby who were seen crying. The body of the policewoman was subsequently taken away from the scene.
According to the Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Omoni Nmadi, who confirmed the incident, the policeman and two other members of the taskforce have been taken into custody pending an investigation into the matter.
He said: “Yes, it’s confirmed. The police sergeant and two others have been arrested.”
He also confirmed that Sgt. Elekwachi’s body has been deposited in the mortuary and the van belonging to the taskforce has also been impounded.
“The Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukan, has ordered investigation into the matter with a view to unraveling the circumstances that led to her death and has appealed for calm, pending the outcome of the investigation, promising that the interest of justice must be served in the circumstance,” he said.
The late Sgt. Elekwachi is said to be survived by her husband who is equally a police officer and her two-year-old baby girl whom she brought to work each day and left in care of a trader whilst she performed her duties.