Posted by News Express | 23 May 2016 | 2,386 times
The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) has condemned a situation where armed security operatives maintained with our commonwealth would turn out to be the greatest threat to the security of innocent citizens. This was contained in a petition to the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, protesting against the alleged gruesome murder of Nonso Uchenwoke, on Friday, May 13, 2016, by Cpl Obiakor and other police officers attached to Okpoko Division of the Anambra State Police Command.
The petition - which was signed by the Vice Chairman, CLO, Anambra State Branch, Comrade Alex Olisa and Legal Secretary Justus Uche Ijeoma, on behalf of the Uchenwoke Family led by Mr Calistus Uchenwoke - noted that the deceased had phoned the vice-chairman and informed him that one of their neighbours, Cpl Ada Ekwueme, had brought some policemen who came to look for him in the house, and that although he was absent, they refused to disclose the reason why he was wanted.
The letter recalled how on Saturday, May 14, 2016, the complainant, Calistus, informed the CLO that his brother has been murdered by the police.
“The complainant narrated to us that at about 10.30 pm on that Friday, neighbours called him on phone and told him to rush to the deceased’s house; that some police officers were beating up his deceased. The urgency in the voice of the caller made him to leave his house at that time of the night and rushed to the deceased’s house.
On getting there, the complainant saw his brother lying beside the gutter, unconscious. He was told by neighbours that Nonso was clubbed to that state of unconsciousness by the officers, led by Cpl Obiakorand. He asked them what crime the deceased had committed to make them treat him like, but did not get any response. He wanted to carry the deceased to the hospital, but the officers refused, insisting that they must take him to the Police Station.”
It was recalled that while he was still pleading with them, “another two Police Patrol Vans arrived at the scene. They were led by an officer who identified himself as the DCO II of Okpoko Police Station. Though the DCO II expressed shock at the condition he saw the deceased, he refused to oblige the complainant’s request to take him to the hospital. When the president-general of the community, Mr John Ngerem, appealed to the DCO II to allow the deceased to the hospital, the DCO II simply told the president to see him in his office tomorrow. He then ordered his men to carry the unconscious body of the deceased into their vehicle, and they took him away.”
It added: “The following morning when the complainant got to the station and met with the DPO, CSP Kayode Olabanji, he was told by the DPO that the deceased gave up the ghost and has been deposited in the morgue.
“Upon enquiries, it emerged that when the officers took his unconscious brother to the Police Station that night, against his pleas to take him to the hospital, they dumped him in that unconscious state in the cell without any medical attention, no matter how little. This is indeed the height of callousness.”
The petition further disclosed that when the information got to the CLO office later that morning, “Justus Ijeoma and Alex Olisa, legal secretary and vice chairman respectively, phoned the DPO and he confirmed the incident. The comrades later went to the Police Station in company of the complainant as the DPO had told them to come to the station for details. Our comrades, to their utmost consternation, found that none of the officers involved in the killing has been arrested. In fact, two of the officers identified by Calistus were seen in one of the drinking shops within the station drinking Hero beer.
“Our comrades met the IPO who told them that Cpl Obiakor went out with the DPO and that he has not seen CPL Ada throughout the day as, according to him, she was not on duty. He, however, told our comrades that he has taken statements from Obiakor and one of the officers whom they saw at the drinking joint. Also, the DCO II and other of his friends were seen in another drinking joint within the station guzzling their own beer. Meanwhile, our Comrades had called the DPO, who was not on seat at the time they arrived at the station, on phone and he told them to wait for him.
“When the DPO finally came in around 7 pm, he, in company of his DCO I and DCO II, met with our comrades, but could not tell them any concrete step that has been taken in the matter. He only gave some weak assurances that the needful would be done, explaining that he is planning to transfer the matter to the State CID on Monday as, according to him, he lacked the competence to handle the matter since death is involved.”
The petition stressed the CLO officers’ frustration that the DPO could not even arrest and take into custody all the killer-cops. “There is no justifiable reason why Cpl Obiakor, Cpl Ada, the DCO II, the other two officers at the drinking joint and a host of others yet to be identified, who played one role or the other in the killing should still be allowed to be moving about freely and drinking beer after committing such a heinous crime.”
Tracing the root of the barbaric murder, Calistus recalled how Cpl Ada Ekwueme, who is a neighbour, had threatened to deal with him ruthlessly after disagreement over a job he did for her.
“He narrated to our comrade that he had a disagreement with the lady officer over some work he did for her sometime in the past. The lady had, according to him, pleaded with him to help her convey some drinks and other items, which she was to use for a burial ceremony, to her village, Mbosi in Ihiala Local Government Area of the state. He obliged her request and assisted her in conveying the goods to the village free of charge, using his commercial vehicle.
However, when the lady finished the burial ceremony, she called the deceased to come and help her bring the items back to Onitsha, but this time the deceased told her that she would pay him, as the cost of petrol has gone up. The lady was infuriated by the ‘temerity of a common driver’ to ask her to pay him over what she considered as a little service. She started abusing the deceased, which led to a verbal exchange between the lady officer and the deceased, in the course of which the she threatened that she would deal with him in a way that will serve as example for others living in the area.”
Copies of the petition were also sent to the Chairman, Police Service Commission;
National Human Rights Commission; Chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs;
Chairman, House Committee on Police Affairs; AIG Zone 9, Umuahia; Governor of Anambra State; Chief Judge of Anambra State; Amnesty International, among others.
•Photo shows IGP Arase.
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