The Nigerian army says it has begun probing the circumstances that led to the death of a local footballer in the Niger Delta region of the country.
Joseph Izu, who played for Oyo state’s Shooting Stars football club, was reportedly killed by a stray bullet during an exchange of gunfire between military troops and suspected militants in his home town of Okarki in Rivers State on Sunday.
The head of the Army in the southern city of Port Harcourt, Brigadier General Hassan Hamisu, says the footballer’s corpse was found around a cult shrine raided by his men and that the investigation is to determine what the deceased was doing at the alleged cult shrine.
“Information available to the patrolling troops indicated the presence of suspected cultists in Okarki villages. The troops moved in and raided the suspected criminal hideout. One person lost his life at the hideout while several others fled. Later it was confirmed that the person who lost his life was a Nigerian footballer, identified as Mr Izu Joseph. Investigation is ongoing to further determine why and what he was doing at the cultists shrine at that time,” he said.
The late footballer’s father has denied his son was a cultist.
Mr. Reuben Izu says his late son was not near any cultist’s shrine and that he had only gone to swim at a river in the community before he was shot dead. He accused the soldiers of murdering his son in cold blood