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Family drags Abia police commissioner, others to #EndSARS panel

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By Joe Akwarandu, Umuahia

A 39-year-old accountant, Kelechi Prince Odinkemere and other members of the Odinkemere family have dragged the Abia state commissioner of police and two others to the Abia State Panel on Police Brutality, Extra Judicial Killings and Other Related Matters for alleged intimidation, brutality and attempted murder.

The petition by the Odinkemere family was one of the cases that was mentioned at the Tuesday resumed hearing of the panel sitting at the Aguiyi Ironsi Conference Centre, Umuahia.

During the sitting, 11 petitions were mentioned and adjourned for hearing, even as most of the petitioners and respondents were absent.

Orient Weekend gathered that the panel received a total of 85 petitions at the close of submission of petitions in November last year, with about 65 of them already mentioned, one concluded and many struck off.

In a petition he filed before the panel, Odinkemere said “four policemen, Ferdinand Chukwuebuka and two others came in company of Smart Agwu and Uchechukwu Okonkwo” on February 10, 2018, to arrest him following a complaint lodged by Uchechukwu Okonkwo.

Odinkemere said the police team, without explanation, pounced on him and started beating him, his wife, Josephine and his brothers, Duke and Chukwuemeka Odinkemere.

“One of the policemen, Ferdinand Chukwuebuka, told us that we were dead for daring to challenge Smart Agwu who is our uncle and a security officer at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike.

“I was almost lifeless when they bundled me and my brother, Chukwuebuka into the police van and carried us away to Isiala (Oboro) in Ikwuano local government area (police station) by the time he was released on March 11, 2018.”

According to Kelechi, who is from Umuariaga in Ikwuano local government area and a staff of Abia state ministry of agriculture, he was brutalised to the point of almost losing his sight, in addition to bruises all over his body.

In the petition, he said that he was later released on March 11, 2018 while his brother was still at the police custody at that material time.

“The policemen have mandated me to produce my mother and my other brother Duke,” Kelechi said, alleging further that “the aim is (sic) to murder our family members as instigated by Smart Agwu and Uchechukwu Okonkwo so that they will take over our landed properties at the (Umuariaga) village.”

He further alleged that the “hot slaps” administered on him by the police team had left him with external and internal injuries as well as traumatic glaucoma. “I hereby pray this competent panel to conduct a thorough investigation on both sides and bring these named police personnel and Mr. Smart to book,” the petition read in part.

According to his lawyer, Vitalis Anopue, in the petition he filed on behalf of Kelechi and the Odinkemere family, “Our client and his family has lost confidence in the impartiality of the men and officers of Isiala police station, Ikwuano.” 

When the consolidated matter, JUD/AB/61/2020 and JUD/AB/62/2020, was mentioned during plenary Tuesday, the panel adjourned the matter to January 21, 2021, for hearing.

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