By Gabriel Enogholase
WHEN late Mr. Amadin Odemwingie a truck driver, bade his young wife and one-year-old daughter farewell on his way to Lagos enroute Port Harcourt to deliver some aluminum products, little did they know that they would be seeing him for the last time. His life was cut short at Ologbo River Bridge in Edo State on his way from Port Harcourt by the activities of some policemen stationed at Koko Junction in Delta State who gave his vehicle a hot chase after they had earlier cleared him to go.
Counsel to the family, Mr. Benjy Iluobe, in a petition to the Edo State Commissioner of Police, Mr DanMallam Mohammed, said that he was informed by the conductor to the late Odemwingie, Mr. Akpata Osahereoma that on getting to Koko Junction in Delta State, they were stopped by a team of police officers who checked them and later asked them to proceed on their journey.
According to him, “when the vehicle got to Ologbo River Bridge in Edo State, a Hilux van pursued them and the occupants of the van started to shoot at the truck. The conductor of the truck, one Akpata Osahereoma told us that the action of the armed men made them to run out of the truck thinking that they were armed robbers only to discover that the armed men were the same police officers who earlier stopped them at Koko Junction.
“Akpata Osahereoma told us that the police officers continued to shoot at them and pursued them to the top of the bridge, and out of fear, he and the late Amadin Odemwingie jumped into the river to avoid being shot. He was able to swim but Odemwingie Amadin who could not swim started calling for help at the nearby sawmill. He said that the people around rushed to help him but the policemen threatened to shoot anybody that assisted him. He said that a speed boat that was close by drove down to the spot to rescue Odemwingie but the policemen shot into the air to scare them away.
“Akpata Osaherenoma told us that when the people in the area gathered, he came out and the same policemen arrested him and beat him up and that when they threatened to take him away, Ologbo youths resisted them before the Chief of Ologbo lodged a report at Ologbo Police Division. Our client said that it was the effort of the Ologbo community that led to the arrest of the two police officers by the Ologbo Police Division.
“The matter was transferred from Ologbo Police Division to Police Area Command, Benin City, According to our client, the police denied that they shot at the tyre of the vehicle insisting that the family of the deceased punctured the tyre. But when a vulcanizer cut open the tyre, bullets were found inside it”.
Counsel to the family told the Commissioner of Police that the arrested police officers were later transferred from the Area Command to the Edo State Police Command, but lamented that at the State CIID,the police were making all efforts to cover up the crime of the policemen.
He therefore called on Mr. Danmallam Mohammed, to order a proper and unbiased investigation into the matter.
Wife of the deceased, Mrs Rosemary Amadin Odemwingie, with tears in her eyes and her one year old baby strapped to her back, said that her world crumbled immediately she was told of the death of her husband.
She said, “he only told me on that fateful day that he was traveling and I never knew that he was saying farewell to us. I now stay with my grandmother who now takes care of me and my baby. All that I need from the government and the police authorities is justice. This matter should not be swept under the carpet as some policemen in the State headquarters are trying to do. Justice must be allowed to take its course.