By Emma Amaize
WARRI—DELTA State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mamman Tsafe, has differed with those who accused the police of murdering Chief Ogbe Onokpite, gubernatorial candidate of Citizens Popular Party, CPP. He said the deceased was armed.
The Commissioner told Vanguard that the deceased opened fire at policemen who went to arrest him in connection with an alleged case of gun-running and his men responded in self-defence. He said, unfortunately, the man died while he was being rushed to the hospital for medical attention.
However, National Chairman of Human Rights Defence Organisation of Nigeria, HURDON, Warri, Mr. Casely Omon-Irabor (Esq.) and National Coordinator of the Forum for Justice and Human Rights Defence, FJHD, Oghenejabor Ikimi, faulted the claim of the police chief.
Irabor told Vanguard: “The killing of Ogbe Onokpite cannot be swept away as just another accidental discharge. This is monumental disgrace and a pyramid of shame that the 21st Century Nigeria Police can still be this barbaric.”
Ikimi said: “We make bold to say that the police neither has the power under any statute to shoot an unarmed citizen avoiding arrest nor act as investigator, a judge and an executioner in one swoop as we are not in a jungle where might is right.”
The group, therefore, called for an inquest into the “premeditated murder of Chief Ogbe Onokpite by the police so as to avoid a re-occurrence.”
Former labour leader and chieftain of Democratic Peoples Party, DPP, in the state, Chief Frank Kokori, said: “It is politically-motivated because Ogbe Onokpite was a gubernatorial candidate of the Citizens Popular Party on two occasions. Effort must be stepped up to apprehend the policemen that killed him and bring them to justice.”
Chief Okiemute Okwagbe and Urhobo leader, Olorogun Ogbarode Ogbon asserted that the manner in which Onokpite was killed was strange, as the police should have disarmed and arrested him, instead of killing him.
Okwagbe said he was baffled by the story that the deceased was escaping from the hotel, as there was nowhere he could flee to in a well-fenced hotel.
Speaking in the same vein, Olorogun Ogbon said: “It is a shame that in the 21st Century, Police could kill someone in an uncivilised manner.”