Eyewitnesses told our correspondent at the scene of the incident that the clash started when the air force officer, who was said to be hospitalised , wanted to make use of one of the
Automated Teller Machines on the bank premises, but was prevented from doing so by one of the policemen guarding the bank .
It was gathered that the policeman told the air force officer that he was being denied access because he was bearing firearm.
“ The air force man , on hearing the reason he was prevented from using the ATM , got angry and resisted the policeman, ” one of the eyewitnesses said.
An argument was said to have ensued, which degenerated to a fight .
It was learnt that the military officer was shot in the process .
PUNCH Metro gathered that the colleague of the injured officer , who later learnt about what befell one of them , mobilised and stormed the First Bank branch premises, shooting into the air .
They later reportedly confronted some
other policemen found in area and engaged them in a free for all .
Our correspondent learnt that the development created panic in the area as other banks – Fidelity , Skye , Zenith and Diamond – on the street immediately shut down operations,
while traders on the road closed shops.
It took the combined efforts of senior police officers and men of the Military Police officers to restore peace, as the injured air force officer was rushed to a hospital .
The First Bank branch , where the incident occurred, was forced to close for the day , as armed policemen cordoned off the facility and denied customers access to the premises.
"I am an eyewitness and happened to be one of those in the Bank premises when, the whole incident happened, I was standing at the ATM Gallery when we overheard the policeman on Duty issuing an order to the Five Men on half kitted camouflage... The police Man was calling their attention to know what they were there for but all his efforts to gain their attention was thrown to the dust... He had to run ahead of them to stop them but they kept moving into the Premises... The Police Man on Duty had to issue an order to them that any further move they won't like his action....Those Men immediately turned towards him and wanted to disarm the Police Man, he announced to them that he will shot them if the continue to drag his Firearm from him, but they kept coming closer and really wanted to disarm him, when he saw the really meant what they were in for, he had to shot and injured one of the (Military Officers), I am not very familiar with parts of a Gun, which I saw one of them pulled from the Policeman's Raffle, the main Bank Security Men had to move the Police Man out of the Scene and phone a nearby Police Squad on duty to come around...
The Costumers at the ATM Gallery was really kept at risk while the whole drama displayed by the Both Elephants kept us on our knees and faces to God in Prayers... When we the Customers were told to move out of the Bank, it didn't take much time before a new set of military Men rushed to the Scene in response to a Brother's call and the city of Owerri was turned down as the Nearby banks and businesses around were forced to shutdown.... "