Groups, lawyer task IGP on death of activist in police custody, go to court
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim K. Idris, has been urged to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death detained Isoko human rights activist, Chief Agbalor Anthony.
The call was made by the Isoko Monitoring Group (comprising of leaders of thought) and a lawyer, Rockson Igelige, who are going to court over the matter.
Their stance is backed by Isoko National Youths Congress (INYC).
In a petition to the IGP entitled RE: The Extra-Judicial Murder of one Chief Ogbalor Anthony by policemen ff the Delta State Command Headquarters, they said:
“We act as lawyers for the Isoko Monitoring Group (comprising of Isoko leaders of thought) and Barrister Rockson Igelige (hereinafter jointly referred to as our client) on whose instructions and behalf we write to you.
“Our brief is as follows-
*That our clients are taking this legal action in public interest and are prepared to follow same to a logical conclusion.
*That our client were informed that one Chief Agbalor Anthony now deceased was sometimes in December, 2017 arrested allegedly for his roles in armed robbery, kidnap and the murder of the late Area Commander of Ughelli Area Command by the Delta State Command.
*That the said late Chief Ogbalor Anthony was sometimes in December, 2017 paraded before the press by the Delta State Command and that the immediate past Commissioner of Police, Delta State Command, CP Ibrahim Zannah while addressing the press alleged the involvement of the said the late Chief Ogbalor Anthony in several other crimes in Delta and lamented his frustration at unnamed politicians that have always found a way of securing his release each time he was arrested.
*That our client was informed that before the parade of the said late Chief Ogbalor Anthony by the Delta State Command before the press, he was shot in the leg and was severely tortured and that the confessions allegedly obtained from him was obtained under duress and by torture.
*That the said late Chief Ogbalor Anthony was denied access to medical attention for several weeks after his shooting and was kept in detention until his death.
*That the said late Chief Ogbalor Anthony was taken to the Police Clinic only after it became obvious that he was going to die and that he died on the 17th January, 2018.
*That our client were informed that at the time of the arrest of the said late Chief Ogbalor Anthony, he was hale and healthy.
*That shortly after the parade of the said late Chief Ogbalor Anthony before the press by the immediate past Commissioner of Police, Delta State Command, CP Ibrahim Zannah, our client raised concerns about the safety of the said late Chief Ogbalor Anthony and warned against his extra-judicial murder sometime in December, 2018.
*That our client strongly suspect that the death of the said late Chief Ogbalor Anthony is premeditated.
*While our client in the strongest terms condemn the activities for which the said late Chief Ogbalor Anthony was allegedly arrested and urge the Police to investigate same with a view of bringing to book other possible accomplices under the procedures laid down by the extant criminal laws of the land, our client frowns heavily at what they consider an extra-judicial murder of the said late Chief Ogbalor Anthony.
*That our client has absolutely no faith in the Delta State Command to investigate and handle this matter.
*We hereby demand for an immediate investigation of this matter and the arrest of all policemen and officers of the Delta State Command that are involved in this matter.
“Thank you for your anticipated prompt action.
“For: Ejumejowo & Assocates, Ejumejowo A. A. (Principal Partner).”
Also, in a statement entitled “Justice must be served on the death of Chief Anthony Ogbalor,” INYC’s president, Comrade Maclins Isheri, said: “It came as a shock to the entire youths of Isoko land that Chief Anthony Ogbalor popularly known as Dracula who was arrested by the Nigeria Police last year November for an alleged involvement in kidnapping and armed robbery has been confirmed dead under questionable circumstances. I am still in shock to hear about the sudden demise of a man whom last I heard was in police custody.
“Something is wrong somewhere because a man stands innocent of a crime until pronounced guilty by a competent court of jurisdiction which in this case it is the reverse.
“I am calling on the Inspector General Police, Ibrahim Idris Kpotum, to wade swiftly into this issue of pressing concern as the police officers in charge of this case must be properly and thoroughly debriefed.
“Likewise, I am calling on the youths of Isoko to go about their normal duties and should not take laws into their hands as Isoko is a peace- loving ethnic nationality and does her activities within the ambit law.”
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