Izu Joseph, a Central Defender with Shooting Stars Sports Club (3SC) of Ibadan, was allegedly shot on Sunday by suspected Joint Task Force officers in Okaki community, in the Ahoada West area of Rivers State, on arriving the state to visit his family.
Joseph’s father, Reuben Izu, and some residents stated this on Monday. Speaking with PUNCH on the telephone on Monday, Reuben said:
He was in Okaki with his wife before he died. He had planned to come to Port Harcourt where I live with his daughter.
He went to the jetty area where we usually swim to have a quick shower on Sunday. It was while he was there that the men of the JTF raided the place and everybody ran helter-skelter, including Joseph.
When the soldiers saw them running they began shooting sporadically and one of the bullets hit Joseph in the leg. As he was groaning with pain, one of the JTF men walked up to him and shot him a second time at a close range despite Joseph’s plea that he was a footballer on holiday in Okaki.
His mobile phone and identity card were seized from him and we have not been able to retrieve them till now. The soldiers didn’t allow anybody to help him until he lost a lot of blood. After they left, he was taken to the hospital where he died due to loss of blood.
A statement by the club’s media official, Jubril Arowolo, and its general manager, Rasheed Balogun said that sources claimed that he was shot with two of his friends who sustained injuries.
“The management of 3SC commiserates with the family of one of our players, Joseph Izu, who was killed on Sunday. He joined 3SC in the 2013/2014 season and was on the bench in the club’s last match of the season against Abia Warriors in Umuahia.
He was a dedicated player who gave his best for the good of the club. We are going to miss him greatly. We pray to God to grant the family the fortitude to bear the loss,” the statement read in part.
The acting spokesman for 2 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Lt. Oluyemi Shokoya, said the matter was being investigated and the 2 Brigade will issue a statement on the matter soon.
Photo Credit: Complete Sports