By Egufe Yafugborhi – Port Harcourt
Chinedu Ezenwaliri, the owner of the car in which Port Harcourt mechanic, Chima Ikwunado was arrested by Police after which he died in their cell, has said he was not robbed of the car by Chima as insinuated by the police.
The questionable death in December last year of Chima in the hands of the Mile 1 Police Division E-Crack Unit of the Rivers State Police Command in Port Harcourt continues to stir emotions and tension following discordant tunes between the police and lawyers, relatives of the late mechanic.
Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, had at the break of Chima’s death said he was arrested for suspected car robbery and cultism in response to a distress call and died of excess sugar in his system under police detention
Contrarily, in a sworn affidavit he presented to the media Wednesday, Ezenwaliri in whose Toyota Camry Chima was arrested and detained to his death, deposed that the deceased never robbed him of his car, and that Chima was his mechanic in possession of the automobile after repairs.
Relatives of the deceased further alleged that Chima was tortured to deaths by the E-Crack Unit of the Rivers Police Command and never died of excess sugar as being insinuated by the police.
Chiadu Onuoba, lawyer to Ezenwaliri said, “Our client has deposed to an affidavit that the allegation being levelled against the late Chima is not correct. He has known him as his mechanic and never reported that he robbed his car any day.
“At this point we want to say his position could be covered up, but we want to escalate it to the whole world to see and hear his statement so that when we are sending petition to the Inspector General of Police, the case can no longer be killed or Ezenwaliri’s statement compromised.”
Ezenwaliri said he got to know that Chima was detained with his car at the E-Crack Unit cell in Mile Division when he could not find the mechanic and his car days after dropping it with him for usual repairs on the 19 December 2019.
Between 22 and 31 December 2019, Ezenwaliri after proving ownership of the said stolen car had it released to him by the Police who, however, refused release of the mechanic on the insistence that he was being held for car robbery and cultism along with four others held driving against traffic in another car same day.
Ezenwaliri said, “I refuted the allegations that Chima was not anything of such, that he has been my mechanic for many years, and he never stole my car. On a trip out of Port Harcourt, I heard that Chima had died in police cell”
The four others arrested in similar circumstance same day Chima was apprehended in his client car he was driving on repairs have been charges and remanded in prison for alleged robbery and cultism.
Relatives of Chima, lawyers and civil society groups continue to accuse the police of false allegation and trial of the four other suspects while also calling for the release of yet to be seen remains of Chima whose death continues to stir anxiety in Port Harcourt.