…Says Zone is not aware of suspected Ijaw kidnappers
By Emma Amaize and Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu
Police in Edo State on Tuesday denied the allegation that police officers extra-judicially killed six Ijaw youths, last week, in Benin City, Edo State.
President and Acting Spokesman of IPDI, Comr. Ozobo Austin and Mayor Timi Ogobiri, in a statement, claimed police murdered the youths under questionable circumstances.
They said, “We received a distress call from Ijaw brothers in Edo state on 8th October that six of their youths who they claimed are law-abiding were framed up and murdered in extrajudicial manner by police officers attached to Zone 5 with unsubstantiated, unfounded and baseless allegations of plotting to abduct someone in the state.
“We were told that the youths were picked by the Anti- kidnapping squad led by one Mr. Balogun in their houses when they were asleep. They were arrested with no arms and any form of resistance. They made their statements and were detained in State CID at Edo State Police headquarters.
“And after some days in police detention, six Ijaw youths, Mr. Okoh Omus, Yeke None Agbefun and Hope Tortor Uroupa and three others were brought out from the police cell and were given extra-judicial murder by and the next day, one Lawani, the seventh person was granted bail with the sum of five hundred thousand (N500,000.00).”
But when contacted, Tuesday, the Public Relations Officer of AIG Zone 5, Emeka Iheanachor denied the allegation
He told Vanguard, “The Zone is not aware of suspected Ijaw kidnappers, but I know that the zone has been contending with several issues of kidnapping, in spite of all these challenges, a lot of tremendous achievements have been made in the areas of arrest but I don’t think we arrested any kidnapper of such not to talk of being Ijaw youths
“I do not want to trivialise the issue, if somebody commits a crime, it is a crime, irrespective of tribe or ethnic nationality, but I am aware that Edo Command arrested some kidnappers recently, who are undergoing investigation, but for Zone Five, I don’t think that we arrested any kidnapper of Ijaw extraction not to talk of taking them out as they alleged in that report.
“I am aware that Edo State Command has made some breakthrough in recent times in the area of the arrest of some notorious kidnappers, “ he asserted.
However, efforts to reach the state command Public Relations Officer, Chidi Nwabuzor, was fruitless, as he did not pick repeated calls to his mobile phone.
IPDI maintained in the statement that the action of the police was “gross misconduct,” adding, “They were killed on mere speculations and suspicion, no trial and conviction. This is jungle justice. Nigeria has been turned to banana republic. It is a pity that police under the current IGP has become lawless and blood sucking.”
” We demand justice. The Commissioner of Police, Edo state and the said squad must give an account of the death of the 6 Ijaw youths without further delay,” the group added.