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Morbid Mystery

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WEEKS after the discovery of dead bodies on the Ezu River in Amansea, Anambra State, it appears the incident would pass with similar official disinterest as that of 10 August 2006 when bodies of 12 robbery suspects the police paraded before the media 24 hours earlier, were dumped at the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia.

In that case, the police refused to explain how the suspects they claimed were arrested while sharing loot from an operation, could all be dead the next day. Till date, the police have answered all enquiries about the incident with grave silence. Did they kill themselves? Did someone else kill them? Were they poisoned? How was this possible when they were in the custody of the police?

The police’s response to the 12 lifeless bodies at the Federal Medical Centre was that the suspects were still under interrogation. If they were under interrogation as the police claimed, when did they die? At what point did the interrogation end? When did the police discover that they had died – all of them – or were the police still unaware that they were dead?

Equally intriguing, like in Anambra, was that nobody knew who dumped them at the hospital. Nobody was willing to provide any information on this. The suspects’ bodies were left at the hospital gate and their relations found out about their death as part of the bewildered gathering that beheld the gory spectacle.

Maybe because the raid that produced the 12 dead – and another four the police shot dead during the operation – took place in Ohokobe, a village near Umuahia, relations recognised them.

The police after tagging them armed robbery suspects closed the matter as if the law permitted killing of armed robbery suspects in police custody. The victims could have been innocent people whose lives were wasted.

A diminishing interest in the dead bodies found in Anambra reflects the larger apathy to issues that should appall us to action. The Senate has ordered an investigation.

Three weeks ago, our editorial suggested that finger print data (biometrics) of any of the bodies could have been captured by Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, if they registered for the 2011 elections, the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, if they were licensed drivers, and any of the mobile telephone operators, if they had phones.

GSM operators can provide the call history of their telephones. The call logs hold the key to the mystery of these deaths. There is hardly any reason for not identifying some of those bodies and clues that could lead to their killers.

Nigerians want to know what happened and what is being done to ensure this does not happen again and again.

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