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Anxiety in Ebonyi over alleged murder of community leader by Police

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By Our Reporter

Authorities of the Nigerian Police Force have been prayed to thoroughly investigate the circumstances leading to the illegal arrest and cold-blooded murder of one Mr. Ibiam Ogbonnaya Ibiam of Ezeke Amasiri in Afikpo North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State allegedly pepertrated by some officers of the Ebonyi State Police Command in cahoot with some private citizens from the area.

A petition by concerned members of the community written on behalf of Messrs Stanley Eze Anya and Chukwu Oko Chukwu through their lawyer, Mudi Erhenede & Associates “Delta Chambers” to the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zonal Police Headquarters, Umuahia, Abia State made available to journalists in Abakaliki detailed allegations of conspiracy and torture of the said 62 year old victim, Ibiam to death allegedly by some overzealous Police Officers serving in the Ebonyi State Police Command in conjunction with some private citizens.

According to the petition, the crime of the deceased unsuspecting victim, Ibiam Ogbonnaya Ibiam who was the Chairman of Uke Ezeke Ruling Council was that in his official capacity, he and some other members of the community were approached by the family of Late Ikpe Oko Ekuma who was shot dead by some youths who have since been on the run in the course of celebrating their Mgbambu cultural festival in the community on the 3rd of October, 2021.

“That the widow of the deceased Ikpe Oko Ekuma and other principal members of his family approached the leaders of the community (as led by the now deceased victim, Ibiam Ogbonnaya Ibiam) to assist them in arrangement to bury the said deceased person who has been in the mortuary since October 2021.

That discussions were still ongoing in the said community pertaining to the said request when the leaders of the community received a letter from one Barr. Samuel A. Okporie Esq warning against the burial of the said deceased person”, the petition informed.

It continued, “that shortly after the aforestated, our clients received an invitation from the Homicide Section (04) of the Nigerian Police, State Police Headquarters, Abakaliki Ebonyi State dated 23/04/2022 asking our clients to report on 29/04/2022. Our clients have informed us that they met with the investigators in the said Homicide Section sometime in May, 2022 but they were asked to return on the 10th of May 2022 as the leader of the team, one Inspector Ating Enyating said that they had no time to attend to the invitation owing to the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Ebonyi State on the 5th and 6th of May, 2022.”

The petitioners alleged that, “It is in the context of the above that our client were rudely shocked when the said Inspector Ating Enyating of the Homicide Section led a team of four other policemen to our client’s Ezeke village at about 1:30 am on the 7th day of May, 2022 and broke into the house of the deceased Mr. Ibiam Ogbonnaya Ibiam and arrested and put him in handcuffs while shooting sporadically into the sky to scare away other members of the community.

It is our client’s further information that the following individuals who are private citizens accompanied the team of Policemen to Ezeke Amasiri community that unfortunate night and acted as pointers and also joined in the torture and beating of the deceased Mr. Ibiam Ogbonnaya Ibiam. They are: Messers Ndubuisi Oko Uka, alias “Cash money”, Mr. Reuben Itiri and Mr. Emmanuel Oko Otuu”, the petition further alleged.

It also claimed that the deceased Mr. Ibiam Ogbonnaya Ibiam, a father of four, was beaten mercilessly with pieces of planks and that he sustained life threatening injuries all over his body and head and when he slumped, the policemen in question put him in the back of seat of the pickup van that they came in and drove off to Abakaliki.

The petitioners further disclosed that also beaten, arrested and put in handcuffs was one Mr. Oko Egwu Etu, a brother of the now deceased person who could not bear the cry and anguish of his brother and approached the Policemen to plead for mercy but ended up being brutalized as well.

They narrated that upon arrival at the Police headquarters Abakaliki, the policemen in question took the deceased to the police clinic and deposited the sum of N8, 000 for his treatment but the medical personnel at the Police Clinic seeing the condition of the victim quickly referred him to the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki which in turn referred the victim to the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, where the deceased was confirmed dead.

“Upon realizing the enormity of their actions, the said Inspector Ating Enyating forced the said brother of the deceased to sign a statement which they had written claiming that the deceased jumped out of the moving pickup van before releasing him to go”, the petition alleged, adding that “the remains of the said Mr. Ibiam Ogbonnaya Ibiam now lie at the mortuary of Mater Hospital Afikpo with clear and obvious marks of his torture and beatings all over his body while the policemen in question have been desperately trying to distort the facts that led to his death.

The petitioners therefore prayed the zonal Police authorities to “use your good offices to cause the investigation of the circumstances that led to the cold-blooded murder of Mr. Ibiam Ogbonnaya Ibiam with a view to bringing all those (whether policemen or private citizens) responsible for his untimely death to book”.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Ebonyi State Command, Loveth Odah said she was away from the State on official duties, promising to revert when she returns and gets details on the matter.

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