Group wants Buhari to probe police killings in Rivers, Ogun
A human rights group, Extra Step Initiative (EIS) has charged President Muhammadu Buhari to institute a judicial inquest into the recent police murder of Nigerian citizens in Rivers and Ogun states.
In a petition to the President, it insisted that the torture and murder of an automobile mechanic, Chima Ikwounado in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and Tiamiyu Kazeem in Sagamu, Ogun State, made it imperative for policemen to be tested for psychological balance and abuse of psychotropic drugs.
Head of Operations of EIS, Eugene Abels, recalled that due to public outrage against police brutality, the President had in 2019 directed the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, to reorganise the police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
He stated that it was shocking that while Adamu was trying to fix things, a torture chamber owned by a Police unit called Eagle Crack Squad, was being established in Port Harcourt, adding that men of the squad were responsible for the torture and death of the late Ikwounado.
Abels explained that in January 2020, one Erepamo Eradiri had raised the alarm that men of the Eagle Crack squad had arrested his auto mechanic, Ikwounado and four others on December 19, 2019, and had accused them of armed robbery and car snatching.
According to him, Eradiri’s statement was corroborated by the owner of the second suspected stolen vehicle, Chinedu Ezenwaliri, who also alleged that his car was in possession of the mechanics as he gave it to them for repairs.
Abels stated that while efforts were being made to rescue the arrested mechanics, the police tortured and murdered Ikwounado, who was in their custody and lied about the cause of his death.
He said the death of Ikwounado and Kazeem in the hands of policemen, was in sheer violation of laws, which they were supposed to have upheld such as the Police Act, the 1999 Constitution as amended Sections 33 (1), 34 (1), 35 and the Anti-Torture Act of 2017 Sections 7 (1-4).
The group informed the President that for over a month, the Nigeria Police in Abuja was yet to comment on Ikwounado’s murder, adding that the family of the deceased mechanic are still begging and the court had joined to appeal to the Police to hand over a copy of the autopsy to the family.
“It is amusing that an autopsy report should be given to a potential defendant, which is the police in this instance, instead of a supervisory body. This is completely below par and unfair and makes the deceased’ aged father and widow cry daily in hopelessness.
“We are appealing to you to direct the Attorney General of the Federation to call for a judicial inquest on the recent murders of citizens by the Police in Rivers and Ogun states. This is important and should happen even if it entails collaboration with the state judicial authorities and the legislature,” Abels said.
The group also argued that the impotence of the police has not helped the President’s war against terror, because they do not have the manpower or resources to occupy army liberated territories and this was taking a toll on soldiers and the country.