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Suspect allegedly dies in Ebonyi Police custody

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By Ruth Oginyi

A suspect arrested and detained by the Ebonyi State Police Command identified as Ogbonna has reportedly died in custody where he was detained together with other suspects following a petition against them by a prominent politician from Ishiagu.

The suspect who hails from Ishiagu, Ivo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State reportedly died on Monday.

Speaking with Orient Daily, National Youth Leader of Ohaneze Ndigbo (Worldwide), Engr. Damian Okafor, claimed that Ogbonna who is the only surviving son of his family died in the Police cell.

He decried that he made several efforts to ensure that the deceased was granted bail and that all his efforts were frustrated by the police.

He said, “In the matter of unfortunate political arrest of Ishiagu Youths which led to the untimely death of one Mr. Ogbonnia-(the only surviving son of their family) from Ihie Ishiagu in Police detention, I recall that I was in Owerri when I received the call about the arrest of innocent Ishiagu Youths. I tried calling the Commissioner of Police but he was busying my calls.

“I told the Youths to maintain status quo till I return. I drove to Ishiagu and accessed some of the damages. I left for Ebonyi Police Command and sort to see the CP but was denied access. I met the OC SWAT who told me part of what happened and I requested the bail applications of the detainees but it was turned down.

“Earlier yesterday 13/09/2021 I received calls that one of the detainees has given up the ghost while in Police custody. I embarked on a risky journey to the village having known the implications of such occurrence. I have met with the family and relevant stakeholders as regards mitigating the recent uproar in Ishiagu. 

“Yes, it is a sad one as one of our innocent brothers has yet again died in Police custody. But we are Ishiaguans and should know that what is trying to separate us is less than what is holding us together, he stated, while calling on the police to be professional in their conducts and demanding the immediate release of all the suspects arrested in connection to the petition.

 “We ask the Nigerian Police to exhibit professionalism in their Jobs and stop being pliable in the hands of politicians.

“We demand the unconditional release of all Ishiaguans arrested in connection with that petition and that Ebonyi State Police Command should find a means of pacifying them.

“We demand that the Police should immediately activate contact with the immediate family and know how to manage the situation because the solution to the problems lies with the immediate family. The Police should not be in a hurry to bury him as we are ready to conduct an autopsy on the body to determine the actual cause of the death”, he urged.

He further said, “The Police should immediately return the material they took from the house of former Okue Youth Presidents such as phones, chargers, money, and documents. 

“While I call for calm over the unfortunate incident, I want to assure the Ishiagu Youths that this nonsense must stop. The death of Ogbonna should be viewed as a sacrificial death. This is too heavy a burden to bear”, he maintained.

Contacted on phone, the State’s Commissioner of Police, CP Aliyu Garba countered that the suspect did not die in the cell as being speculated.

He said though he was not in the office when the incident took place, the suspect was rushed to the hospital by officers on duty when he developed an unusual act.

“He didn’t die inside the cell. I was not around. (It was claimed) that some of the suspects beat him inside the cell because he urinated and defecated inside the cell. The suspects who beat him have all been arrested and they are now undergoing interrogation inside the cell.

“So, he was taken to the hospital immediately but unfortunately, he died there. The suspects are there and the witnesses”, he said.

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