CHUKWUDI AKASIKE writes about the ordeal of the bereaved parents of a 21-year-old man allegedly shot dead at close range by officers of the IGP Monitoring Unit in Rivers State
The grief that beclouded Mrs Ebi Agori, wife of a retired naval officer, when she lost her son terribly escalated when she learnt that the officers of the IGP Monitoring Unit, who allegedly shot dead her son, told her that they had disposed of the body of the 21-year-old Daniel.
Ebi, an evangelist, who was traumatised by the development, alleged that her son was killed on the order of the Head, Inspector-General of Police Monitoring Unit in Rivers State, Justin Adaka.
The 47-year-old woman, who was inconsolable when SUNDAY PUNCH approached her, said she had yet to understand why policemen would kill her son for no reason.
“Why will the police kill my son before accusing him of kidnapping, rape and armed robbery? Is it right for an innocent person to be killed before investigation begins? My son is not a kidnapper; my son did not rape or rob anybody. Daniel is innocent,” she stated amidst persistent crying.
Her husband, Princewill Agori, who narrated how his son was allegedly murdered by the police, said he travelled for a burial in Bayelsa State when he got a call that one of his sons had been shot dead by the police. He added that he had to rush back to Rivers and began to search for the police station where the incident happened.
Agori, a retired naval officer, said, “When I got to the IGP Monitoring Unit, I felt very humiliated. After they killed my son, I went on my knees to beg them when they threatened to kill my 16-year-old son, David, who was still in their custody. When I told them I was a retired naval officer, the policemen at the station asked me if their station was a navy barracks.”
It was learnt that the incident, leading to the demise of Agori’s son, began on May 11, 2019 after a quarrel among his children over who was to prepare the fish that was brought home by their mother. The argument, it was gathered, became heated until one of them, 30-year-old Blessing, allegedly called her boyfriend, Victor Nelson, identified as a personnel of the IGP Monitoring team.
SUNDAY PUNCH gathered that the two vans, loaded with policemen from the unit in Aluu, stormed the house, shot sporadically into the air, destroying some of the window panes before taking Ebi, Daniel, David and two other persons away.
Ebi maintained that nothing incriminating was found in the house, even as Daniel was handcuffed, while they were taken to the police station.
The distressed mother also accused the policemen of opening her legs and inserting the nozzle of a gun in and out of her private part, a development she said made her to bleed profusely. She said the bleeding continued, even while they were at the police station. According to her, her tormentors, unsatisfied with the torture she was passing through in their hands, still shot Daniel dead.
Asked where the corpse of the late Daniel was, the father, Agori said that was the same question he asked the policemen.
He said, “We have yet to see Daniel’s corpse. They told me they had disposed of my son’s body and that I should forget about his corpse.” The statement from Agori hit Ebi who attempted to run across the tarred Moscow road before relatives held her.
Speaking on the earlier position of the Rivers State Police Command that he (Agori) told the Commander of the IGP Monitoring Unit that Daniel was a kidnapper and always brought guns home, the father of six described the allegations as blatant lies.
He said, “Allegations against me and my family are blatant lies. Like I earlier said, I was in Bayelsa State for a burial when they arrested my family. I am not a ghost. At what point did I meet the police to tell them that my son was bringing arms home?
“I have since established a case at the Rumuokoro Police Station. I did that when Nelson began to threaten me. It took the intervention of my lawyers to stop him from doing that. Also, the IGP Monitoring Unit Commander threatened to wipe out my family. He asked me in the presence of my lawyer if we didn’t hear that they once wiped out a family.”
Also, Princewill’s lawyer, Ndubuisi Wuwa, accused Adaka of boasting that he was not answerable to anybody but only the Inspector-General of Police, Adamu Mohammed, when he came to the office of the state Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni.
Wuwa explained that on that day, he went to meet the police spokesperson along with another lawyer, Amadi Omereje, when Adaka came in. “Omereje asked him the power he had to kill anyone without investigation,” Wuwa added.
The lawyer, who said they were still in the process of gathering relevant documents that would help them in prosecuting the matter, expressed confidence in getting justice through legal means on the matter. He also called on the Presidency, National Assembly and the Nigerian Bar Association to urgently intervene in the matter.
Besides, Agori’s second daughter, Deborah, told SUNDAY PUNCH on the telephone that her sister, Blessing, who called in the police over a minor family issue, had refused to show any remorse.
Deborah stated, “She has not come home since then; she is still with her police boyfriend. She is not even feeling any remorse. She once called and threatened to deal with me after accusing me of telling people that she killed our younger brother. I am angry and I want justice.”
When SUNDAY PUNCH called Blessing to get her reaction on the matter, she listened to what our correspondent had to say and later cut the call. Several efforts to speak with her proved abortive as she refused to return further calls to her mobile.
Speaking on the claim that the late Daniel’s father told Adaka that Daniel was always bringing arms home, Omoni said he only presented what Adaka told him to our correspondent.
Omoni, however, added that since Agoro had petitioned the state Commissioner of Police, Usman Belel, he would not be able to make further comment on the matter.
He said, “That is what the IGP commander told me; and that the father of the boy, in the presence of the mother, said the boy was a bad boy, who was always coming home with different kind of arms. That matter is receiving attention at the highest level in the command.”
Earlier, the state police spokesman said about the incident, “I am aware of it; and that matter is before the Commissioner of Police. They (Mrs. Agori and family) were at the command. I called the IGP Unit commander and he told me that the boy that was killed was an armed robber and a kidnapper, who admitted that he had been involved in several kidnapping cases.”
But a human rights activist and founder of the Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Anyakwee Nsirimovu, decried the action of the IGP Monitoring Team, describing it as barbaric, unconstitutional and unacceptable. He urged well-meaning Nigerians to ensure that the Agoris got justice for their son’s death.
Nsirimovu said, “The action of the police is contrary to the constitutional provisions. It is the responsibility of the police to protect lives. Appropriate action must be taken against the IGP Monitoring Team and there should be a petition to the Inspector-General of Police and the National Human Rights Commission.”