How Joseph Izu was killed, by father

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 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

“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 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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