police

By Esther Onyegbula

Widow of the policeman  that was beaten to death by soldiers serving at the Nigerian Army Ordinance Corp, Ojo Cantonment, Lagos, Favour Orukpe, has lamented that police authorities were yet to inform her that her husband was dead, six days after the ugly incident. 

The distraught 40-year-old nursing mother, who called for justice over the bestial manner her husband was killed, also urged  authorities to fish out his killers and punish them accordingly. 

The Police Inspector, Monday Orukpe, 45, was beaten to a state of coma by yet-to-be-identified soldiers, last Wednesday, while controlling traffic with his colleagues at CCC gate, Lagos/Badagry expressway. 

Reports said the policemen had explained to the soldiers, who ordered them to clear the road to make way for their bus, trapped in traffic, that it was impossible because the road was heavily congested. 

However, the soldiers reportedly took offence and descended on them.

In the process, they beat the Inspector into unconsciousness. He died few hours later in the hospital, after all efforts to resuscitate him failed. 

Speaking exclusively to Vanguard Metro, widow of the slain policeman, Favour, lamented that the family had been traumatised since the incident happened. 

Recounting how news of her husband’s death got to her, the mother of four, said: “I was at home on Thursday, last week, when I received the message from my brother-in-law that my husband had been killed. On Friday morning, I went to the station to confirm the news. When I got there, they took me to the mortuary where  my husband was lying lifeless.

“The last time I spoke to my husband was on  Wednesday, when he called to inform  me that he was at work ,that he would  be back when he closed. When he didn’t come back  as promised, I  called him at about 5 pm to know what was delaying him. I dialled  his number severally without response, I kept calling till 4am, Thursday,when the phone was switched off.

“I never had a premonition that something was going to happen because he  left home on  Wednesday morning hale and hearty. 

“ He was all I had. He was my backbone. He had planned to train his children to the highest educational level he 

could afford.”  she said in tears.

More painful according her , was that  since the incident happened, no policeman had  paid condolence visit to her home.

She said:“Not even a visit  from the division he served  or from the state command. The DPO never  thought it necessary to pay a condolence visit to my family.  It was in the news I read that the Army paid a condolence visit to the Commissioner of Police.  I need justice for my husband’s death.”  

Elder brother to the deceased who is also a serving security personnel(names withheld) described him as “a very quiet and straight forward person. He never liked outstation work, he was scared of road blocks and road patrol which was why he  was always posted as station guard, all  through the years he worked at Area’ C’ Command, Surulere.  A senior  officer who knew him was proclaiming his admirable character openly. He told everybody that, ‘Monday was nicked named “oga that didn’t like money.” At the new station, he complained that male officers were not allowed to be station guards, only female officers. So, he was assigned to operations. He was scared; he kept telling me to put him in prayers pending when he would be transferred.  If you go to the station, his colleagues will attest to it. People didnt’  know that my brother was a police officer because he was well-behaved and was very friendly. He only wore his uniform in the office. It was after he was killed that people in the community he lived  knew he was a policeman. He  spent over a year  at  Trade Fair division before tragedy struck.

“What the family wants is justice. The issue now, is, how the children will survive”. 

The slain cop  who was born on February 20, 1977, hailed from Onia-Ogbalo village in Irrua ,Esan central, Edo state 

He was enlisted into the Nigeria Police Force in  May,2002 , with  Area C command, Surulere, as his first division. Thereafter, he was transferred to Iju division  from where he went to the  Trade Fair division, where he was killed.

His widow, is saddled with the responsibility of taking care of their four children: three boys and a girl identified as  Divine, Emmanuel, praise, and Osaremien.   

When contacted , spokesman for the Lagos State Police Command, SP Benjamin Hundeyin said the Command was awaiting feedback from the panel  of inquiry set up to investigate the tragic incident. 

Meanwhile,  Acting Deputy Director , Public Relations, 81 Division , Major Olaniyi Osoba Major,in a statement on the incident, said, “ the attention of the 81 Division has been drawn to a story online over the unfortunate incident that occurred between some soldiers and policemen around Ojo in Lagos , resulting in the loss of life of a police officer.  

“The Division is already in touch with the Lagos State Police Command to resolve the matter. This incident is highly regrettable, given the Division’s disposition and zero tolerance for any misconduct.   

Accordingly, the Division has instituted a Board of Inquiry to unravel the circumstance surrounding the unfortunate incident.   At the end of the investigation, anyone found culpable will be made to face the full wrath of the disciplinary provisions. Consequently, the Division wishes to commiserate with the Ojo Police Division and members of the family of the victim.”

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