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Murder: Produce accused cop now, court orders Onovo

By Tony Edike

ENUGU—AN Enugu State High Court sitting in Enugu-Ezike, yesterday, ordered the Inspector-General of Police, Ogbonna Onovo, to produce a police officer, Inspector Victor Ugwu, who is standing trial before the court for allegedly killing a student, Mr. Chukwuebuka Omeje, last June.

Young men and women who are members of the deceased’s Block Rosary Crusade of the Catholic Church besieged the court, yesterday, wearing white vests designed with the photo of the deceased. His parents, Dominic and Christiana Omeje were also in court.

The killing

Late Omeje, who was a Senior Secondary School II student of Boys’ Secondary School, Ovoko in Igbo-Eze South Local Government Area of Enugu State, was gunned down by a team of Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, of the state Police Command allegedly taking him to be a kidnapper.

However, the deceased’s colleague, Dennis Mamah, also a student of the school,  who survived the attack narrated how the plain-clothes policemen, using an unmarked vehicle, had opened fire on the deceased at a bus stop when both students were returning from a religious activity of the Block Rosary Crusade in the area.

Judge’s order

When the trial commenced yesterday, counsel to the family of the deceased and the state counsel expressed dissatisfaction that the suspect, said to have been detained at the force headquarters, Abuja was not brought to court.

This prompted the trial judge, Justice Raymond Ozoemena, to order the Inspector-General of Police “to produce the suspect in court on June 28,  from wherever he is now and this order is on the IG.”

The court also ordered that the attention of the principal officer to the Inspector-General of Police and that of the Enugu State Police Commissioner, Mr. Mohamed Zarewa, be drawn to the order.

Conspiracy theory

Counsel to the deceased’s family, Mr. Ike Obeta, had informed the court that it appeared to them that the Police in Enugu have been trying to shield the suspect from justice.

He complained that it appeared there was a deliberate plot by the relevant Police authorities to avoid bringng the suspect to Enugu or Nsukka to face trial.

State counsel, P. Ozokolo, told the court that it was learnt that the IG’s office had finished its investigation and that the suspect was being detained at the Force Headquarters.

Obeta, in his reply, said he heard it on good authority that the Police in Abuja, who handled the investigation following a petition to Onovo, were surprised that the suspect had not been taken back to Enugu by the state police authorities and that he may be released any moment if nothing was done now.

It was learnt that following the petition by the family of the slain student, Onovo had ordered a special investigation unit of his office to handle the matter upon which the detectives moved into Enugu and took the suspect to Abuja.


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