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Delta panel adjourns kidnap kingpin’s case, admits video clip as evidence

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The Delta State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality has adjourned the petition in which it was alleged that the police tortured and killed suspected kidnap kingpin, the late Anthony Ogbalor, also known as Dracula, to March 1, 2021.

Brother of the deceased, Wilson Ogbalor, had petitioned the panel over the death of the late Anthony after he was arrested without trial.

Before adjourning the matter, chairman of the panel, Justice Christiana Ogisi (rtd.), admitted a video clip in which the deceased allegedly confessed to his crime as evidence.

The video clip was admitted and marked exhibit DW3 during the panel’s sitting in Asaba.

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Counsel to the respondent, F.N. Oduna, presented the video recording after it was played during examination of his witness, CSP Anietie Eyoh, a police officer now serving at the Nasarawa State Police Command.

Under cross-examination by the petitioner’s counsel, the witness said he was the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in Warri, Delta State, when the deceased suspect and some members of his gang were arrested in December 2017.

Eyoh told the panel that he led the team that arrested the late suspect at Otor-Iyede in Isoko North Council of Delta State after he and members of his gang allegedly kidnapped a woman in Warri and collected N3.2m ransom.

He said the suspect fell down from the ceiling while attempting to evade arrest and sustained injury, adding that he was taken to the station and his statement was taken during which the video clip was recorded.

The witness stated that the suspect was treated before his case was transferred to the command headquarters in Asaba for further investigation.

He said he was later informed that the suspect collapsed in police cell, and was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Asaba, where he died from injuries and the fact that he did not tell his interrogators that he was diabetic.

Counsel to the petitioner, who presented his medical report, said the deceased did not die at the FMC, noting that his corpse was only referred to the FMC morgue, but Eyoh insisted that the suspect was treated at a medical facility in Warri before he was transferred to Nasarawa.

Counsel further contended that the late suspect’s statement was obtained in Asaba on December 28, 2017 even though he was arrested on December 20, but Eyoh insisted that his confessional statement was obtained immediately after his arrest.

He added that the statement of December 28 might have be an additional one since the suspect was no longer in his custody at the time.

After hearing both sides, Justice Ogisi adjourned the matter to March 1, 2021.

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