*Bereaved father cries out, alleges cover up
By SIMON EBEGBULEM, Benin City
All is not well with Edo State Police Command and the family of Edeghonghon Aziegbe (a.k.a Eddy) of Ekpoma. Edeghonghon graduated from the Department of Geography, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, and deployed to Asaba, Delta State for his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) before meeting his untimely death in Ekpoma, last month. Edeghonghon was shot dead by some persons yet to be identified a day to his 30th birthday after he went out with friends for a drink.
Apart from the fact that the family is still shocked over their son’s death, the agony is that the police have refused to release the corpse for burial. The family also lamented what it described as the insincerity of the police to prosecute the suspects. The father of the deceased, Patrick Aziegbe, petitioned the Edo State Commissioner of Police, Foluso Adebanjo, alleging cover up by the police. But a source at the Police Command disclosed that one Shina Aremu, from Akoko Edo, is being investigated over the murder.
The bereaved father narrated the incident to Sunday Vanguard: “On April 5, around 6pm, my son went to the dry cleaner to collect his clothes because the next day was his birthday. When he got to the dry cleaner’s place, he called his friends and bought drinks for them. When they were leaving, his friends said they wanted to take him to the house in their car. After they entered the car, some gunmen shot at the car from behind and the wind screen was shattered. My son opened the door and ran to God is Good Motors area. Others ran too, but the attackers pursued my son and were shooting; he was killed.
“The following morning I did not know about the attack. I called his number. The number did not go; that was Saturday, April 5, his birthday. We were preparing for the birthday on Sunday, the 6th, that is why he went to the dry cleaner to collect his clothes. I called severally, but he did not pick his phone; my wife had to call his girlfriend’s number and that one started crying that they shot them. Later that day, some body called me from the mortuary at Iruekpen. He called to say he came to work that morning and saw my son in the mortuary. I told him to wait for me and we ran to the mortuary and saw him. We found out that they shot him in about five places”.
Aziegbe went on: “On Sunday, my uncle went to the police station, I could not go. The police said he should write statement; he did. When he came back, I told him that the way they shot him was so bad I would like to bury him immediately. But the police in Ekpoma said we had to wait till Monday as we had to swear to affidavit before he could be released and buried. On Monday, my uncle went to the police station to do the affidavit. They promised that in two days we would bury the boy. Three days after, they said they arrested the people that shot him.
The police told us to go to the state CID in Benin-City to see the people. When we got to Benin, they said one Shino was the one that shot him. They said a guard at God is Good Motors area saw the said Shino when he shot him. An officer told us to go home. On the 10th when I was going back to the state CID, I took my son’s girlfriend who was there when the incident happened. She made a statement because she was there when the incident happened. I also made a statement. The policemen said we should wait for their boss. We waited till about 5pm when a chieftain of the APC came and the policeman told him I was the father of the boy. He commiserated with me and they went outside. When one of the boys who went with me went out, he saw the boys they arrested talking to the party leader in the cell. I told the IPO that I wanted to go because I don’t drive in the night. We left the police station around 6.30pm. They said they wanted to detain my son’s girl friend but I told them they could not because she was a witness, not a suspect. The police said they will call me but they never did; that is why I wrote the petition”.
He lamented: “My problem now is that the police have refused to release the corpse for burial.”
Contacted, the Edo State Police Commissioner, Adebanjo, said some suspects had been arrested over the matter. “Like I said before, nobody that kills will go free. We are investigating the matter; that is why it seems things are slow. This is a murder case on which you don’t rush so that you get the real suspects and they are prosecuted”, he said.