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Petition: Gruesome Murder in the palace of Ovie of Ozoro


That on the 25th day of January, 2009 Eugene Ebiri (34), who was mentally imbalanced sometime ago, went to the palace of Ovie of Ozoro. As soon as Eugene Ebiri entered the palace, he was violently attacked by several Dear Sir


The Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) is a network of 39 civil society organizations working on issues of Police Reform and Accountability. It was established in 2000 to provide opportunity for civil society involvement in police reform, and the promotion of safety, security and justice in Nigeria.

NOPRIN has received information concerning the cold-blooded and barbaric murder of 34-year old Eugene Ebiri, in the palace of Ovie of Ozoro in Isoko North L. G. A. of Delta State of Nigeria, by the Ovie of Ozoro, His Royal Majesty, Barrister Anthony Ogbogbo (Uvietobore, Ubuka 1) and several others, on the 25th of January, 2009.

NOPRIN is also in possession of a copy of a petition dated 3rd February, 2009 written to the IGP by P. O. Wanogho & Associates, Solicitors and Advocates on behalf of the Umuowwho family of Iyosa Street, Uruto Community, Ozoro in Isoko North Local Government Area of Delta State of Nigeria, the family of Eugene Ebiri, protesting the gruesome and brutal murder in most barbaric circumstances in Ovie of Ozoro's palace, on the 25th day of January, 2009.

The facts of the matter as contained in the aforesaid petition to the IGP by counsel to the family, and other information available to NOPRIN are:

1.That on the 25th day of January, 2009 Eugene Ebiri (34), who was mentally imbalanced sometime ago, went to the palace of Ovie of Ozoro. As soon as Eugene Ebiri entered the palace, he was violently attacked by several persons led by the Ovie of Ozoro, who personally and physically participated in the violent attack on now late Eugene Ebiri.

2.During the attack, the Ovie of Ozoro struck the deceased with iron rod, one Godwin Agari , a butcher who was on a visit to the palace also struck the deceased with iron rod, while one Apoi Ogbogbo forced the deceased to drink substance reasonably suspected to be acidic.

3.One Ogbetere Silas hit the deceased with a huge cement block on his head, while Gabriel Ogbogbo, Obuke Wilson, Ajiri Agada, the Ovie of Ozoro's driver whose name is not immediately known and Apije Benson, Chief Security Officers to the Ovie, and several of his thugs tortured and battered Eugene Ebiri to death.

4.After the brutal murder of Eugene Ebiri by those stated above, the Ovie of Ozoro invited the President General of Ozoro Community, Dr. Sunday Ejemite to the palace and directed him to deposit the body of the deceased in the mortuary of Uvie Clinic in Ozoro.

5.Soon after the murder of Eugene Ebiri, relatives of the deceased went to the Ozoro Police Divisional Headquarters and lodged a complaint of the murder, but the police at Ozoro did not only refuse to incident the case but directed them to go to the Ovie of Ozoro's palace and Uvie Clinic Mortuary to search for their murdered relation.

6.The President General of Ozoro Community also later reported the murder at Ozoro Police Division Headquarters. Again the DPO refused to act until the CP, Delta State Police Command Headquarters, Asaba, Mr. Jacob Oshiomogbo, directed him (the DPO) to arrest all those alleged to be involved in the murder of Eugene Ebiri. Surprisingly, only Godwin Agari and the Ovie of Ozoro were invited and taken by the police to Asaba. While Godwin Agari was detained at the State CID, Asaba, the Ovie of Ozoro was granted bail on his self recognition, without any investigation, as if to demonstrate that the traditional ruler is above the law. The Ovie of Ozoro was directed to produce the other accused persons at the State Command Headquarters, Asaba.

7.It is disheartening to note that soon after, the Ovie of Ozoro simply zoomed off on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, without producing any of the accused persons, who are either his relations or under his custody, to the Police at Asaba, as directed by the police.

8.At this point the deceased's family members became apprehensive that this most barbaric and cruel murder of their relation, was about to be swept under the carpet because of the societal position of the mastermind of the crime, Ovie of Ozoro, a traditional ruler.

9.It was based on this fear, and the failure and/or inability of the Ozoro Police Divisional Headquarters and the State Command to effectively and impartially investigate this egregious murder with a view to bringing all those involved to book that counsel petitioned on behalf of the family and implored the IGP to use his good offices to institute appropriate and unbiased investigation into the cold-blooded murder of Eugene Ebiri and those found culpable timeously brought to justice through appropriate prosecution. This is the least that will be expected in a country where the rule of law reigns, and where the law is indeed, no respecter of persons, no matter how lowly or highly placed.

10.In a prompt response, the IGP by a letter dated 9th February, 2009 singed by CP Austin Obaedo, Principal Staff Officer to the IGP, and addressed to the Deputy Inspector General of Police 'D' Department (Force CID), the Nigerian Police, Force Headquarters, Abuja, the CP Homicide was directed to 'treat as expedient'. The CP, the Nigeria Police, State Headquarters, Asaba was also copied.

11.Sadly, till date, neither Counsel nor any member of the family of the deceased person has been informed about the progress of investigation, if any, into this matter, or any steps that may have been taken to ensure that the killers are brought to book, and the family of the deceased compensated.

12. NOPRIN notes that failure on the part of the police to effectively investigate crime and bring the perpetrators to justice amount to covering up crime and compounding felony. It makes the police look complicit. Yet, the police have the constitutional responsibility to investigate and prosecute crime. 13.

Too often, the office of the IGP merely gives directive to the State CPs to investigate public complaints directed to the IGP. But the IGP hardly follows up to ensure that State CPs actually carry out his directives to investigate and report back to the IGP for necessary action. The consequence is that perpetrators of atrocious crimes get away with their crimes, and are emboldened to commit more, with impunity, while the victims' families are denied their legally entitled remedies, and made to lick their wounds. This case must not be one of such cases that the police will usually handle haphazardly and allowed to end up without being diligently investigated and appropriate actions taken.14. NOPRIN hereby calls on the IGP to call for the case file on this matter and ensure that investigations are concluded and those responsible or involved in the murder are brought to book and the victim's family members compensated. This is the only way justice can be seen to be done in this matter.

Please, accept the assurance of our highest esteem, as we look forward to your prompt action on this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Okechukwu Nwanguma

(Program Coordinator)

December 9, 2009

cc: The Inspector General of Police
The Nigeria PoliceForce HeadquartersAbuja.

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