***Says, our lives now in danger
By Ikechukwu Odu
A retired police officer, Andy Samuel Ugwu, whose son, Augustine Ugwu, was extra-judicially killed by personnel of the just disbanded Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS of the Nigerian Police Force, in April, 2020, cried out over the delay in releasing the remains of his son for burial seven months after he was murdered in Nsukka, Enugu State.
Ugwu said that he has faced a lot of frustration from the police in his attempts to receive the remains of his son who was a final-year Law student of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State before his death.
He also disclosed how SARS officers in connivance with one Oliver Ozioko, allegedly framed and plotted to kill his principal witness, Emeka Ogbu, in order to evade justice.
While regretting that his son’s killer, one DSP Nnamdi Ochin, who he claimed has confessed to the crime, was still walking freely with all his accomplices, he said his life and that of his principal witness were now in danger.
He added that save for the EndSARS protests by Nigerian youths to reform the police, so many innocent souls would have been wasted by the police.
His words: “My son is not yet buried. My only happiness is that I have seen the remains where police deposited it. The killer, DCP Ochin, who earlier denied having anything to do with my son’s death, later confessed to the crime when detectives from Abuja interrogated him in June this year.
“My greatest worry now is that my principal witness, Emeka Ogbu, the owner of the beer parlour where my son was arrested, is now being molested for giving factual accounts of my son’s arrest.
“He was arrested by one DSP Friday Okpo, attached to the just disbanded SARS. He was transferred from the SARS headquarters Abuja to Nsukka here for the assignment and has been living with one of the principal suspects to my son’s death, one Oliver Ozioko.
“Both of them invaded the residence of my principal witness and invited him to their office. On getting to the SARS office in Nsukka here, Friday Okpo, went inside his office, brought a gun and placed it by his side and ordered him to sit down.
“He snapped and videoed him with another suspect identified as ‘Escato.’ He started interrogating him about the gun, but my principal witness told him he knew nothing about it.
“He tortured him in his office for about an hour in a bid to extract information from him. The following day, he moved him to their head office in Enugu where he was tortured for a week and three days.
“When he was released from detention, after we have paid over N250,000 to the police, he told me how the officers who carried out the operation nearly killed him along Opi-Enugu Road if not that one of them objected to the plan.
“In their office at Enugu, one of the insiders disclosed to him that there was a plan to terminate his life and warned him not to eat any food from the police unless the one brought by his family members.
“Two days after SARS released him, he was rearrested by personnel of the Anti-cult Unit from Enugu where he spent two months under serious torture and other forms of brutality.
“The most painful aspect of my story is that my son was buried behind Queen of the Rosary College, Nsukka, by the principal suspect who later exhumed the body and sold it to a known Teaching Hospital in Enugu for students’ experiment.
“That was where the body parts would have been harvested and sold out. But I raised alarm and he took it away from there and deposited it in a mortuary.
“Many policemen you see living above their income is as a result of the atrocities they commit on duty. All the suspects who masterminded my son’s killing are still walking freely.
“Some police officers from command headquarters in Abuja came and obtained statements from them in June and disappeared since that time.
“Some highly placed officers in Enugu Command here are covering them up from facing justice but I won’t allow that because my son is in question here. The CP only transferred them out of Nsukka here and nothing has been done since then.
“The civilians who were involved in the killing of my son are also walking freely, trailing me and my principal witness to kill us. Our lives are in danger now. I am appealing to the police authorities to release the body of my son for burial. Must it take them two years before they do the needful? Each time I called Abuja Command, they would promise that they would come the next day, but I would not see anybody.
“I am equally appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and all the senators to ensure that the current Commissioner of Police in Enugu State, Ahmad Abdulrahman, gets maximum punishment for my son’s death because he backs the officers under his watch for extra judicial killings. It was his laxity in supervision of his men that led to these atrocities in the state,” he said.
In his reaction, the principal witness, Ogbu, told Vanguard that he went through hell in the hands of police officers who framed him and plotted to kill him for giving factual information of how the late Ugwu was arrested in his shop.
He equally alleged that after spending N250,000 before securing his bail from SARS, Anti-cult Unit of the Nigerian Police equally extorted over N600,000 from him before letting him go.
He said, “one of the SARS personnel who arrested me from Nsukka known as Isaac, A.K.A Baba T, told me while they were moving me to Enugu that if he was in charge of my case, I would sell my land before regaining freedom.
“In the detention at Enugu, a suspect who they forcefully took his photograph with me told me how the officers used him to frame me up.
“Sometimes, around 12 a.m, an officer would just order out an inmate who had already written his statement, asking him to go and rewrite his statement and the next thing we would hear was gunshot outside the detention room, and the person would not come back again.
“I received series of torture at the Anti-cult Unit at Enugu. Sometimes, I would beg them to stop beating me and the officers would demand money.
“I paid from N10,000 to N5,000 to avoid being tortured. Before I left there, I had gave them over N600,000 because I spent over two months there.
“My life is now in danger because some of the suspects are still trailing me,” he said.