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Abuja killings: DPO, 2 others arrested •IG talks tough •More heads to roll •FG disbands Okiro panel

Posted by Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja on 2005/06/24 | Views: 445 |

Abuja killings: DPO, 2 others arrested •IG talks tough •More heads to roll •FG disbands Okiro panel


Three police officers, including a Divisional Police Officer, have been arrested over the recent killing of six persons by the police in Abuja.

Three police officers, including a Divisional Police Officer, have been arrested over the recent killing of six persons by the police in Abuja.

Our correspondent gathered on Friday that the three officers, namely the DPO of Garki Police Station, Othman Ibrahim (CSP), Nicolas Zechariah (ASP) and Suleiman Audu, an Inspector, were ordered arrested by the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero.

Their arrest followed indications that many senior police officers would lose their jobs as a result of the killings, which provoked a violent clash between the police and an angry crowd in Abuja on June 7.

The police had maintained that the dead persons were armed robbers but public outcry forced the setting up of a Board of Inquiry headed by deputy Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro, to probe the incident.

Sources close to the police high command said that the three officers would soon face Orderly Room Trial while some others would also be invited to state their roles in the matter.

“Since the commencement of the panel, many things had been revealed that the IGP never thought happened and I am so sure that the Federal Capital Police Commissioner, Mr. Emmanuel Adebayo, would not have told the nation that those killed were armed robbers if he had been properly briefed,” said a senior police officer.

At the resumed hearing of the Board of Inquiry on Friday, many members of the panel were stunned when one Chukwudi Chukwu testified that he was instructed by the Garki DPO to take the pictures of the victims before they were buried.

Ibrahim had earlier told the panel that the police forgot to take the pictures of the alleged robbers before they were buried.

Many were, however, horrified when the pictures were displayed on Friday. Many of the pictures were presented to the members of the panel, whose sitting was closed to newsmen on Ehindero’s orders for what he termed “security reasons.”

Chukwu, who said he had been taking pictures of shot armed robbers for over seven years for the police, told the panel that he was pressurised severally by Ibrahim not to leak the pictures to either the media or the police.

He alleged that Suleiman had collected “all the negatives without knowing that I was keeping some; as if I knew this thing will still crop up.”

He also stated that the police had to arrange some guns and cartridges beside the corpses as evidence, “asking me several times to hold on as they bring one thing beside them.”

The photographer said that one Anthony Ndah, a police officer, came to him about two days later to express his reservations about the alleged robbery suspects. He said that he was surprised when Suleiman came to him two days later to instruct him to go and take a picture in the mortuary only for him (Chukwu) to be confronted with Anthony’s corpse.

Also at the panel on Friday, counsel to the families of the deceased, Amobi Nzelu, told Okiro that since Huseein Wajiga, a Mobile Police constable, testified about how his colleagues killed Ikene Isaac, one of the victims who escaped with bullet wounds on his body, he had not been seen.

Wajiga was allegedly whisked away by the Commander of MOPOL 45, CSP Solomon Oyewole, after the Okiro panel went to examine Prince and Princess Estate, where the late Isaac was shot dead by mobile policemen on patrol. Wajiga had said that after he handed over the late trader to the police, “I turned and started going back but just a few minutes later, I heard a gunshot and when I turned back, I saw the man on the ground. As I was still looking, he was shot again and they carried him into their waiting jeep and sped away.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Government on Friday announced the dissolution of the Okiro panel and its replacement with another panel.

The new panel, according to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Akinlolu Olujinmi, said that government was seriously disturbed about the situation. He said that although the Federal Government appreciated the effort of the disbanded BOI, the situation appeared too grave and weighty to be left to the police to handle.

“Apart from that, the allegations point accusing fingers at the police. It therefore does not rhyme with transparency and rule of law to allow the police to be a judge in their own case, particularly having regard to public outcry and reactions following the incident,” the minister said.

The new panel, which is headed by Justice O.O. Goodluck, has seven members. They are Brig-Gen. J.A Okunbor, Chief Osita Okeke, Hauwa Ibrahim, Parry G. Osayande, Barrister Oluwole Aina and Barrister Isaac Idu, who will serve as secretary.

The panel was directed to investigate the incident and establish the remote and immediate causes of the killing and other matters related to the incident.

Saturday Punch, June 25, 2005

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.