By Tordue Salem, Abuja
A petitioner Prince Chigaemezu Ojinnaka at the ongoing Independent Investigative Panel on allegations of human rights violations by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other units of the Nigerian Police on Monday in Abuja, narrated how insecure and petrified he feels whenever he sees or hears of the police, following his ordeal in their hands which has deformed his limb with no sensation in his feet and, consequently killed his dream of becoming a footballer.
Prince Chigaemezu Ojinnaka, who is half Nigerian and half Ukrainian said on the 14th April 2020, he was riding on a motorcycle, on his way to the hospital to visit his sick grandfather, when he was accosted by two policemen at a T junction along Amuzie Omanze road, Umuku/Isu Njaba community. While trying to park the motorcycle, one of the policemen shot him on the foot at close range, and immediately the two policemen fled the scene in a van marked No.18 with the inscription “flush and search”.
Chiagaemezu, who claimed he is 20 years old told the panel that he was immediately taken to a hospital where he was rejected, he was thereafter rushed to the Federal Medical Centre in Owerri, and despite 3 separate surgeries to remove the bullets in his foot, the pellets were still stuck in his leg.
Chiagaemezu continuing his narration in a traumatized voice said his leg started swelling and he was in so much pain because of the pellets still inside, he said that the doctors in FMC were already contemplating amputating his foot. According to him, he had to be flown to Ukraine, where the Ukrainian doctors did a series of surgeries on his leg and saved him from possible amputation.
Chiagaemezu lamented to Dr Garba Tetengi SAN, who stood in for the Chairman, that all efforts to get the perpetrators of this dastardly act has proven difficult. He alleged that it seems the police are more interested in shielding the culprits than getting justice for him.
He further disclosed to the panel that the incident has left him deeply traumatised “I don’t feel secured any time I see a policeman in my father’s land”.
His prayer before the panel is that he wants the policemen who acted irresponsibly to be fished out and be prosecuted in accordance with the law. In addition, he pleaded with the panel to order that the police to compensate him for the pains he suffered and for jeopardising his future potentials in life.
Under cross-examination, James Idachaba, counsel to police, while sympathising with him on the ugly incident asked him if he was sure the people he saw were actually police and not members of state-owned security outfit.
The panel who countered James Idachaba, charged him to produce the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) Dan Iroakazi at the next hearing so that he can tell the panel the steps that have been taken to investigate the incident.
In addition, Idachaba was ordered to find out who were the policemen stationed at that T junction along Amuzie Omanze road, Umuku/Isu Njaba community on the 14th April 2020, and which officer(s) was assigned the van marked No18 with the inscription “flush and search” in Imo state.
Dr Garba Tetengi SAN stated that the panel “wants to get to the root of this allegation, we must find out who shot this young man”
The case was adjourned to 27th April 2021 for the continuation of hearing, and counsel to the respondents should ensure the presence of Dan Iroakazi.