Extra-Judicial Killings: Victims' Families Demand N2bn
Two families based in Lagos, western Nigeria, have petitioned the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, over what could be termed the extra-judicial killing of their family members.
Counsel to the families, Allens Agbaka, in separate petitions to the police chief, is asking him to immediately institute a probe into the cases and ensure justice, failure which he would institute a case in court against the police. He also demanded N2 billion compensation on behalf of one of the families.
In the first petition titled: 'Callous, willful, brutal and gruesome murder of Oyoma Edewor' dated 20 May, 2014 and copied the Attorney-General of the Federation, Agbaka alleged that on 10 May, 2014, Edewor, a 33 year-old building contractor, was killed by a 'trigger-happy police officer attached to the Area 'E' Command, Festac Town, Lagos State, western Nigeria.
Giving the name of the alleged killer police officer as Otene Godwin, the counsel said on the said day, Edewor was driving in his late father's Toyota Forerunner SUV from Lekki to Festac, in company with his friends when the car developed a fault and he decided to engage the services of a towing van.
Agbaka said Edewor and his friend were accosted by policemen while he had towed the vehicle close to his house.
'When the driver of the towing van eventually stopped, the invading policemen swooped on Oyoma Edewor and his friends, brutalised them before ordering them to sit on a waterlogged ground and they obeyed the obnoxious order slavishly and to the letter,' the petition said, adding that despite this treatment, the policeman with Force number 355272 shot the victim at close range, killing him instantly.
Though the police claimed that Sergeant Otene was on an illegal duty when he carried out the killing, Agbaka said this was immaterial as the gun with which he carried out the act was approved for him by the police authorities; that he was wearing a uniform at the time of the act and that he was with his colleagues in a police van.
He demanded that the killer policeman be dismissed from the police, charged and prosecuted for murder.
He also demanded, on behalf of the bereaved family, 'the payment of N2 billion as compensation for the unlawful killing of Oyoma Edewor,' threatening that failure to meet the demand would force the family to head for court against the police.
In the second case involving a 36-year old musician, Jonathan Nsirim, who was alleged to have been arrested by Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, for alleged armed robbery in December 2013, Agbaka said his disappearance from the custody of the SARS still baffled his family till now.
He said Nsirim, who was married and had children, was kept in the custody of SARS without being allowed to see his counsel or family members and that after some days, a female officer told him and others that the suspect may have been taken to court and remanded as he was no longer in their custody.
He said their search for him at the Kirikiri Medium and Maximum Security Prisons proved abortive as officers there told them that there was nobody with such identity with them.
Agbaka said after some efforts again, the police authorities told them that Nsirim had been transferred to Abuja for further investigation because of the nature of the allegation against him.
He said Nsirim's wife and relatives are apprehensive that he must have been murdered by the police and this was why they had resorted to giving inconsistent information about the man.
Agbaka said in the event that his client was still being held by the police, he should be charged to court without delay as keeping him amounts to a violation of his rights.
He threatened to go to court if the police still refused to disclose the whereabouts of his client.