Controversy trails killing of middle-aged man by Police in Imo State

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By CHIDI NKWOPARA

The hitherto quiet atmosphere witnessed in  Uvuru Ntu, Ngor Okpala Local Government Area  of Imo State recently, was truncated following  sporadic gun shots by a team of policemen at about 5.45 am.

Villagers, who were jolted from sleep, sought for refuge in different directions, apparently thinking the invaders were kidnappers.

However, when the dust settled, a middle-aged man identified as  Nnanna Eke, was found in the pool of his blood;and he died before reaching the hosptal.

The tragic incident, which occurred on  December 30, 2012, also marred the family’s thanksgiving scheduled that fateful Sunday,  to mark the 25 years of  one of its daughters’ religious profession as a Catholic Nun.

Controversy, has however,  continued to trail the death of Nnana, following allegation by the deceased  family that the Publicity Secretary of the  state’s Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Blyden Amajirionwu,who allegedly accompanied the policemen that shot Nnana had a hand in his death.

*Imo state Gov Okorocha

*Imo state Gov Okorocha

Speaking on behalf of the family, Rev. Sr. Concillia Eke, a Catholic Nun of the Congregation of Daughters of Divine Love, DDL,  whose silver jubilee thanksgiving was marred as a result of the invasion and killing of her younger brother,  by the armed policemen, offered an insight into what happened that fateful day.

According to her: “A police patrol van, with  four policemen, drove into my family home at about 5.45am, accompanied by Mr.  Amajirionwu, the  PDP Publicity Secretary,Imo State.

“The policemen surrounded our house and started shooting sporadically. They shot directly at the  door of the room  where my younger brother, Nnanna Eke, was  sleeping. Amidst the ensuing confusion, every person in the compound ran for safety.

My brother  who was oblivious of the fact that he was the target, woke up and ignorantly made to come out of the room, only  for one of the policemen to give an  order that he should be shot”.

Amajirioonwu ordered the arrest of members of my family

The Catholic Nun further   alleged that the state’s PDP Publicity Secretary, ordered the Policemen to arrest her siblings; Mrs. Ngozi Ihemba, a nursing mother and  Toochukwu Eke.

“My mother was also whisked into the Police van which zoomed off immediately. I entered Blyden’s car, insisting that they must also take me along with members of my family. But Blyden drove off so furiously, that I fell off from the car”, Rev Sr. Eke recounted.

She recalled that it was after the Policemen had left that she sighted Nnanna lying helplessly in the pool of his  blood, adding that she quickly sought assistance from sympathizers with a view to saving her dying brother.

“Unfortunately, my brother died while we were on the way to  the hospital owing to the gunshot injuries he sustained from the trigger-happy policemen. He was confirmed dead by the doctor on duty at Holy Rosary Hospital, Emekuku, Owerri.

My mother was dropped  along the road, a little before Umuneke,while my elder sister  Ngozi  and my brother, Toochukwu, were detained at the State Criminal Investigations Department, SCID, Owerri,  from December 30, 2012 to January 3, 2013, before they were released  on the instructions of the Commissioner of Police,Mr. Adisa Baba Bolanta.

I suspected he kidnapped my three-year-old daughter- PDP publicity secretary

Reacting to the  accusation through a press statement, Amajirionwu, traced how his three-year-old daughter was kidnapped  on December 8, 2012, in his Owerri residence   but was later released after  payment of an undisclosed ransom on December 13, 2012.

Excerpts:

“In the whole process of the kidnap and release, I had more than enough convincing suspicion that Mr. Nnanna Eke was a prime suspect behind the act. Naturally, I had only one option, which was to report to the police. And that I did, in writing and of course it was for the police to arrest and investigate the allegation.

“On December 30, 2012, the Police went to arrest Mr. Nnanna Eke but  had difficulty  locating the place . But because  I didn’t want any mistake in the arrest, I decided to show them the way.

On getting there, I pointed at Nnanna’s house and stood on the main road, while the police went in to arrest him.

If Nnanna had a clear conscience on the matter, he would have simply surrendered himself. But instead, he resisted the police by trying to  escape, only to be shot in the process.

The truth is , Nnanna knew the implications of what he did. “, Amajirionwu stated.

However, a villager who spoke on condition  of anonymity could not hide his consternation at  the Police  claim that the late Nnana tried to resist arrest.

“It was obvious that  the Policemen  simply shot Nnanna and left him to die. The question that needs an  answer from  the police, is; whether the late Nnana was armed as at the time the Policemen stormed  his compound?.

“Amajirionwu has also,  refused to say what sort of resistance Nnana put up, that eventually led to his being shot.  Again, since the complain was against Nnanna, why did the policemen abandon their target and preferred  to take two other innocent members of the family  away? There is much to this than meets the eye. That is why  we are urging the Inspector General of Police to properly investigate this ugly murder”, the villager pleaded.

Policemen replied gun shots- Imo state PPRO

Contacted, the Imo State Police Public Relations Officer PPRO, Mr Vitalis Onugu, a Deputy Superintendent of Police DSP , stoutly defended the police and the complainant, Blyden Amajirionwu, stating that he only acted a s a pointer.

Said he: “ The Policemen that went there are well trained and could not have taken instructions from the complainant.

The Policemen saw a lady as she went and alerted  members of the  family about the presence of the security personnel. But they did not  see the deceased on arrival . What attracted them were gun shots  from behind the family house  and they responded by firing into the area where the gun shots was  from”

Asked if the Policemen recovered expended shells of  ammunition from the  location  of the suppossed gun shots, the PPRO gave a negative reply, adding also that no policeman was injured in the process.

He further stated that : “ The Ekes, without reference to the police, moved the suspect to Holy Rosary hospital, where they were told he was dead on arrival.

Family of the deceased at a later date, came to the Police with an affidavit for the release of the corpse. They equally told the police that they would like to bury Nnana and would also not go into any trouble with any body. But the Police refused and insisted on carrying out an autopsy”.

He however,expressed regrets that the middle-aged man died but was quick to add that:  “ If he was innocent as claimed  by members of his family , he would have quietly surrendered himself to the  Police and awaited proper investigation”.

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