By Chimaobi Nwaiwu
A mild drama played out weekend at Ogidi High Court presided over by Justice Ike Ogu as a widow, Mrs. Nwakaego Mgbogo, and the police through their lawyer exchange words on the circumstances that led to the death of her husband, Raymond Mgbogo, in Peoples Club Police Post, Onitsha, Anambra State.
Counsel to the Police, while cross examining Mrs. Mgbogo, told the court that the man died from exhaustion suffered at Taraba State Prison where he was imprisoned before the police brought him to Onitsha but the widow told the court that the police tortured her husband to death in her presence.
Meanwhile, Onitsha branch of Izzi Nnodo Progressive Union, Ebony State, has made an application before an Anambra State High Court, sitting in Ogidi, idemili North Local Government Area for the release of the remains of the deceased, Raymond Mgbogo, who allegedly died in police detention in 2008.
In the matter of an application for damages for wrongful torture to death of Rayomond Mgbogo and the release of his remains for burial filed by his wife, Mrs. Roseline Mgbogo and leadership of the union against the Inspector General of Police, Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 9 Umuahia, the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State, Mr Francis Bisong, Mr Salim, DPO, Peoples Club Police station and Mr. Syriacus Nwozo, sought an order of the court to release the remains of the deceased for burial in his village, Eteh, Ebonyi State.
The plaintiffs also sought an order of the court for payment of N500 million as damages for compensation for the wrongful torture to death of the deceased.
According to the statement of claim by the plaintiff, the deceased, until his death, was a contractor supplying sand to builders and also supervising building site for the 6th Defendant Mr. Nwozo at Obidiaso/Ntueke Street, Awada, Obosi.
Counsel to the applicant, Anthony Obi, told the court that the deceased travelled to Taraba State in May 2008 and was reportedly caught up in the curfew imposed in the state when the 6th defendant needed his service to start work on his building at Obidiaso/Ntueke Street, and when he could not see him and was told he went to Taraba State, he allegedly took policemen at Peoples Club Police, who traveled to Taraba to brought the deceased to Awada.
On arrival from Taraba State to Anambra State, at Peoples Club Police Station, the Defendants was said to have allegedly instructed the police to torture to death the deceased unless he provides some rods which he reportedly kept on the site he was instructed to oversee.
Mrs. Mgbogo further stated that her husband died in a car belonging to Mr. Nwodo and that the police deposited the remains of the deceased in the mortuary at Bex Memorial Hospital, adding that when she asked them what they did to her husband, the only answer she got was “that how they see it.”
Following the rising cost of depositing the corpse of the deceased in the mortuary and argument on who will foot the bill, which had risen to over N1 million, the family insisted that those who deposited his body in the mortuary must foot the bill and, therefore, made the application to the court for an order to release the body.
“The corpse is in a private hospital and the person who deposited it there has to settle the hospital mortuary bill, which up to date, has risen to over a million naira.
“It is not the issue of the Ministry of Justice delaying the release of the corpse or even the family going there to take it, you cannot take the corpse unless the mortuary bill is settled,” she said.
The case was, however, adjourned to December 1, 2014 and January 21, 2015, for the defendants to open their defence.