Cross River judicial panel orders release of corpse detained for two years
The Cross River State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on police brutality, yesterday, directed the state police command to release the body of late Ayuk Etta Etta for burial.
Chairman of the panel, Justice Michael Edem (rtd.), also annulled the alleged banishment of Paramount Ruler of Etung, HRH Ntui Atue, Emmanuel Oru Ojong.
Citing the 1999 Constitution (as amended), he stressed that the petitioner had the fundamental right to access his community.
The resolution was reached at the panel’s last sitting for the year.
The panel’s order followed a petition by Emmanuel Oru through his counsel, Fakuta Nachamada & Associates, titled: Intimidation, harassment, detention and usurpation of the functions of the Paramount Ruler of Etung by AIG Mbu Joseph Mbu (rtd.) with police officers.
“On December 24, 2018 during Christmas Eve celebration, masquerades were displaying along the Bendeghe-Ekim-Abia road.
“Mbu Joseph stopped his convoy, shot and killed one Ayuk Etta Etta, who was robbing charcoal on his body in preparation to wear masquerade costumes.
“Boys carried Etta’s corpse and took it to Mbu’s house at Abia. Upon sighting the boys, he ordered his policemen to shoot and they shot one Oyom Ngon on the leg, which became so bad that the leg had to be amputated.
“Director of Public Prosecutions recommended Mbu’s prosecution, but he used the police to intimidate witnesses from coming to testify.
“In January 2019, Mbu preferred 20 trumped up charges against our client, found him guilty and fined him N10 million, four cows or our clients cocoa farm would be seized. On February 8, 2020, he masterminded the broadcast through which our client was purportedly exiled from Abia Community.
“MBU has harassed and intimidated our client using policemen and our client had to run away from his domain and is presently seeking refuge in Ikom,” the petition reads.
Justice Edem, however, called for an investigation into the activities of policemen working with Mbu, insisting that the accomplices should be prosecuted for Etta’s murder.
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