Shooting
Stars defender, Joseph Izu was shot by men of the Joint Task Force, JTF in
Okarki village, Rivers State, according to his father, Rueben.
Rueben
Izu told Naijafootball247.com that the shooting occurred at about 8am on Sunday
morning.
“Eye
witnesses at the scene narrated to me how he was killed and it is very painful
for me as his father,” a tearful Rueben told Naijafootball247.com.
“He
is a professional footballer who just ended the season and he decided to spend
some time with his wife and daughter in the village.
“As
is usual in the village, he went to take his bath in the jetty which is a
common place to go in the village to have a bath.
“As
he was taking his bath, he heard gunshots and began to
run like every other person there.”
The
story continues that Joseph Izu ran into a soldier who shot him before he could
explain anything.
As
he fell to the ground, he cried out to the soldier that he was not a criminal
but a professional footballer, even showing him an Identity card that he had in
his wallet, but the soldier shot him again.
“What
bothered me the most was that my son was treated like a criminal? If he had committed
any crime, wouldn’t he have been caught and arrested all the while he was at
Shooting Stars playing?
“What
happened to due process? Why cut short a young life?” Rueben Izu asked.
Rueben
Izu continued that the soldiers at the scene used his sons phone to make a
video of him battling for his life before they pushed him back into the river
and then they left the scene.
He
reportedly swam out and was rushed to the nearest hospital where doctors could not remove
the bullets and he died on his way to a bigger hospital in Yenagoa.
A father’s plea
“What
I want to know is the crime my son committed? What would they kill him like
that? Rueben said.
“We
need to curb these extra judicial killings. Why shoot like this? It is not
right. This carelessness by the police and other security agencies should be
checked.
“Lives
are being cut short every day. My son is a professional footballer and now he
has been murdered,” Rueben Izu said.
“He
was the bread winner of the family. Losing him means we have lost an economic
pillar. It is a sad moment in our lives.”

Spokesman of the JTF, Adewale Shokoya of JTF told naijafootball247.com via telephone that late Izu Joseph was arrested along side some miscreants.

He said a press statement will be made to the public later on Monday.

The press release as at Tuesday morning was not made available.

Meanwhile,
the Deputy Coordinator, joint media campaign centre of the Joint Task Force,
Operation Delta Safe, Lt. Commandant Thomas Osuji, has said there was no
deployment of troops to the zone where the player was killed.
While
speaking exclusively to New Telegraph on the telephone, Osuji said it came as a
surprise to him when he saw the online report of the killing of the player allegedly
by the JTF.
Osuji
said: “I was very surprised because our troops were not deployed to that axis, I
am also wondering what happened.
“I
already called the section commandant and the unit commandant, and they were
not also aware of the incident. 



“Normally on Monday we usually have a long
meeting where the activities of the previous week are normally discussed but
nothing that has to do with the incident was raised.
“Sometimes
there is joint task force within states and sometimes when they deploy troops
you will be wondering if they are Operation Delta Safe which covers the whole
of Niger-Delta states including part of Ondo, Cross River and Akwa Ibom States. If the deployment was from ODS, the force would have issued a statement.”

Osuji
said investigation into the killing had commenced since the force was alleged
to have killed the footballer. 



“We are investigating on our own and very soon
we will surely get information across,” he added.


Joseph
Izu played for Shooting Stars in the 2015/ 16 football season and had
previously been on the books of Bayelsa United and Unicem Rovers.
He
was also part of the Beach Football team in last year’s Copa Lagos.
He
left behind him a young wife and an 8 year old daughter.

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