News

April 21, 2024

Abaribe, Bishop Onuoha seek justice for Aba biz man killed by police at checkpoint

Abaribe, Ndigbo, Igbo

By Steve Oko

Senator Enyinaya Abaribe, representing Abia South, has condemned in strong terms, the killing of Aba-based business man, Emmanuel Okocha (Emma Noko), by a trigger-happy police corporal at a police checkpoint in Aba.

Similarly, the Co-chair of Interfaith Peace and Dialogue Forum, Bishop Sunday Onuoha, has also condemned the barbaric act, and demanded justice for the victim.

The victim was shot on Wednesday at Aba-Owerri Road by Corporal Obagi Njok, in an ensuing argument following his refusal to part with some money at the checkpoint.

He later died on Friday in the hospital where he was rushed to for treatment.

Senator Abaribe in a statement Sunday, described the action of the killer cop as “primitive and most unconscionable”, and called for the establishment of a judicial panel of inquiry to investigate the killing and other complaints against the police in Aba.

The former Senate Minority Leader, urged the Inspector General of Police to rein in the officers involved and to ensure that similar incidents are not witnessed again in Abia.

Senator Abaribe in a statement by his Media Adviser, Uchenna Awom, said “the gruesome cold blooded murder of Mr Okocha by the trigger-happy policeman on the allegation that he refused to give the said police officer money, is not only disgraceful, a serious blight on the image of the Nigeria Police but one that is unacceptable and stands condemnable by all.”

He, however, appealed for calm, but reminded the authorities that “the current sad development represents the low side of the proliferation of check points in the South East, such that it looks as if they are ‘buying and selling points’, rather than for security purposes.”

“These frequent killings by law enforcement officers is becoming alarming and worrisome. People now live in fears in their own country. Our people become more terrified of the police rather than being confident in the presence of them on the roads.

“That should not be the case. This is a country governed by laws and the officers must observe the rules of engagement, while dealing with the civil populace. The brutal murder of Mr Okocha is one too many, particularly in Aba and its environs by the police.

“To assuage the fears of the people, the policeman who allegedly shot and killed Okocha and thus left his young family without a bread winner must be made to face the full wrath of the law.

“And for other associated similar occurrences, I urge the government to set up a Judicial Panel of Enquiry to carry out a holistic inquest with the aim of nipping these ugly events in the bud’, Abaribe said.

Senator Abaribe condoled with the bereaved family, his Abiriba community and people of Abia State.

Bishop Onuoha in his statement, said the sad incident was “yet another avoidable, senseless waste of human life!”

“This is worrisome and paints a foreboding picture of recklessness and irresponsibility by some officers of Nigerian security agencies”, he said.

Bishop Onuoha who commiserated with the bereaved family said it was the height of cruelty to waste a life for allegedly refusing to “tip-off a police officer”.

“Any loss of life under these circumstances is a grave injustice and a stain on the fabric of our society. No level of rationalising or explaining will excuse such condemnable and, I dare say, abominable act!

“Where law enforcement officers, tasked with upholding the law and safeguarding the lives and rights of all individuals, perpetuate reprehensible acts of violence and thuggery, becoming themselves, ‘power hungry uniformed-miscreants’, the society opens itself up to a portal for chaos, as continued disregard for the principles of natural justice and humanity, is a drive down a slippery slope.

“These deviants can no longer be disregarded because they ever so frequently throw spanners in the wheels of our nation building.


“I therefore call for a thorough and impartial investigation into this tragic incident to ensure that all those responsible are swiftly brought to justice. The perpetrators of this heinous crime must be held accountable for their actions, and measures must be taken to prevent such atrocities from recurring in the future.”

Bishop Onuoha also decried the proliferation of security checkpoints in the South East geopolitical zone, and called for a review of the sad development.

“What is even more concerning is the incredible number of checkpoints between Imo River (Rivers/Abia boundary) and the Abia/Enugu boundary.

“Spots that have sadly become synonymous with evil and all kinds of lawlessness; especially the use of our innocent little boys as “undercover toll-gate collectors.”

“It is a national shame that such minors grow up never knowing anything but the brutality, corruption, and crime they are exposed to by supposed uniformed men.

“What has become of our humanity? How long will these evil continue? How much more can Nigerians swallow? How can we honestly reform the system without vilifying or eliminating those who stand up or show up with standards?’