By Ifeanyi Okolie
Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Umaru Manko has assured that police will unearth the true circumstances that led to the alleged killing of Mr. Ugochukwu Ozuah by gunmen suspected to be members of the force at the UPS Junction in Gbagada area of Lagos recently.
The Police boss who spoke exhaustively on the issue told Crime Alert that they have no reason to twist facts if their men were truly involved in the killing.
Hear him; “The little pictures of that incident remains that the DPO in- charge of Anthony Police station reported to me that the chief security officer of that estate informed the station that someone had just been shot and, within a shot period of time, he led a team of policemen and patrol team of RRS to the scene and they found a young man lying on the ground with a bullet wound.
He was still breathing. As the police was trying to ask questions, somebody came out from nowhere and said he is the friend of the young man on the floor and he had gone to call the family of the victim from their house.”
“The man and the DPO made effort to take the man to a hospital chosen by the victim’s family and by the time they got to the hospital, the young man died. After his story, we were left with the responsibility of trying to find who shot him and the only eyewitness to that incident happened to be the friend to the deceased whom he came to drop at the bus stop.”
“Unfortunately, the DPO and that friend of the deceased were later told that the man had died and by the time they finished with the deposition of the corpse in the mortuary and for them to return to the police station to enable the DPO start initial action, that friend of the deceased was no where to be found.
The next thing we heard was his own version of the story on social networks from England. The father of this young man who is the only eyewitness, is said to be a paramount ruler in Delta State. He appeared with a retired Asistant Comptroller -General of Customs and introduced himself to me.
He went further to quote his son as saying that he witnessed the killing of his friend and also narrated exactly what was reported on the social network, that a policeman said ‘hey who goes there, and the next thing was to pump bullet into the youngman’s body.”
“Then I began to wonder. ‘Hey who goes there’, in the first place is not a police language. That is the language of the military, it is used in their own quarter guard if they want to checkmate the movement of people. I do know that the saying: ‘hey who goes there, advance for recognition’.
But all these things do not make sense. There is no trained police officer or a trained military man that will see a young man around 10 pm, not after mid-night, and say who goes there and before the man will answer, will start pumping bullets into his body.”
In Lagos state, I don’t know what it used to be but since I came here, officers and men of the command have been told of the position of the Inspector-General of Police on the use of fire arms and ammunition.
Of course, you are aware that a Chief Superintendent of Police who shot and killed someone during the fuel subsidy protest is still in detention. You are also aware that the Police Chaplain that shot some body the other time, we arrested him. And if you go to our cell at the State CID, you will find some policemen in detention for wrongful use of fire arms.
So, while I am not holding brief for any one nor saying that the police did it, but if the only eyewitness who saw his friend, who had gone to drop him off being shot and the best thing he could do was to deposit his body in the mortuary and flee to England and start talking to the press from England, then we have a dilema here. “
When the father came, I asked him why should the man leave without making statement with the police, we don’t have his statement. And why was he making statements on the social networks instead of making it to the police. And if he does not want to make it physically because of one fear or the other, why didn’t he write his statement and pass it to the police. And why should he leave?
The father said he was afraid, that he made statement against the police and I said where? He was not afraid of going to the police station, of taking the police round when they were trying to see if they could save the life of the young man before he died. And why must he disappear immediately?
And the father said if I want his son to appear that I am going to give him a guarantee that his son was not going to be tortured when he comes. Then I said look, who told you that the police torture people to get statement from them? If he wants to clear his son’s name, let him ask him to appear. Go and bring him before me and he is going to make statement in my office.
The fact that his fears are that he is going to be tortured is farfetched; nobody is going to torture anybody. That he made statement against the police is not an issue.
He can be here and make his statement and every body will see. Of course, some of us here have been tested in other places and we have demonstrated some qualities since we arrived here. I see no reason why somebody who witnessed how his friend was killed, all he could do was to flee Nigeria to England and start making noise from there.
At any rate, I know my Inspector-General; he is a very straight forward person. Our men have come from Abuja to take over the case. I cannot be a judge in my own case and therefore, I am comfortable with the fact that the IG has sent down people to come and take over the investigation so that the two of us can have a level playing ground.
You see, I watched somebody on the Television who said the police doesn’t want to condole with the family. So, how does one need to react to that. And I know that the facts surrounding this incident are very clear to me. Any where we have done wrong, I will tell you we have done wrong.
If you remember when one of our policemen went and killed someone at Makoko during a demolition exercise, I gave him out. At this age, I can’t start learning how to lie. I was at Makoko and I went to many other places. But, off course, the chief security officer of that estate who called in the police is still alive, he made statement to the police. If at the end if it all, investigations are completed, who ever is at fault will bear the consequence.
Has this allegation in anyway distracted the command from investigating this case?
No, it has not, just as I told you, objectivity will not be compromised even if I am involved. I want to let every body know that. Even that of the CSP who is now in detention, was investigated by the police and in our findings, we did not compromise.
The police of today have gone beyond and above what people used to think of them. We will continue with the investigation diligently, we will come out with an objective opinion that will not be faulted by anyone from the outside. But lets wait and see how it goes.”