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Only justice will heal the wounds ó Nzelu

Posted by Stories by Celestine Okafor, Assistant Editor on 2005/07/09 | Views: 230 |

Only justice will heal the wounds ó Nzelu

Counsel to the families of the slain five traders in Apo, Barr. Amobi Nzelu (SAN) has said that he is quite pleased with the startling revelations from the judicial commission of inquiry into the killings, pointing to the fact that the deceased five were not armed robbers afterall as alleged by the police.

Counsel to the families of the slain five traders in Apo, Barr. Amobi Nzelu (SAN) has said that he is quite pleased with the startling revelations from the judicial commission of inquiry into the killings, pointing to the fact that the deceased five were not armed robbers afterall as alleged by the police. He told Saturday Vanguard shortly after the panelís sitting on Thursday that the families of the victims are eagerly awaiting justice.

Well, we have just finished the dayís proceedings today (Thursday) at the panel and I can tell you that I am quite happy at the developments there. I am happy because as the counsel to the families of the deceased people, the confessions and revelations so far are pointing to the fact that those people (slain traders) were not what the police said they were (armed robbers).

The photographer who took the shots of the incidents tendered everything at the panel today (Thursday) which shows that they were not armed robbers. I was very happy about that. When you look at the photographs, you will see that these people were simply murdered in cold blood by the police. Infact, based on the revelations, on the testimonies by the Inspector General of Police (Mr Sunday Ehindero) at the panel, the policemen were guilty of murder. And all we want is justice in this case because it is only justice that can heal the wounds of the families of the victims.

As a matter of fact, my clients want the IGP, to on the strength of what he had said, write a letter to the families of the victims and personally signed to state that they (victims) were not armed robbers. This gesture will remove the armed robbery stigma on those people. But so far, we have no reason to suspect any foul play at the panel sittings.

I have read in the newspapers where people suggested that the composition of the panel should be enlarged. Well, that view is okay but on the other hand, I still believe that the commission members are people to be relied upon for now to ensure impartiality in the case.

For instance, we have a Brigadier-General in the army among the panelists. We have a woman judge who is the chairman. We have Mr Parry Osayinde, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) and quite a few others who are tested hands in commissions of inquiry as this one. So I want to say that we are convinced for now that we will not have cause to doubt that the panelits can handle this case impartially. Now, I want to use this opportunity to commend the Inspector General of Police, Mr Sunday Ehindero for demonstrating his commitment to the truth in this matter. The same commendation goes to the CIB, the commissioner in charge of the investigation bureau Mr Okpaleke. He has done very well in this case.

One other good development is that the escapee DPO has been formally declared wanted by the police. I want to believe that the police is investigating his whereabout with the view to bringing him to justice. But like I said, only Justice will be good enough in this matter.


Emordi: Culprits must be punished

Senator Joy Emordi representing Anambra South senatorial district was short for words at the revelations from the probe panel investigating the killing of five Igbo traders and a lady at Apo Allegedly by the police. She told Saturday Vanguard that the culprits must be brought to justice.

When I recall that incident, the things I have read in the newspapers about it and stories told, I develop goose pimples that people could be shot dead just like that and accusing fingers are being pointed at the police that ought to safeguard lives and property. I just canít comprehend all that. But the fact is that blood has been wasted. It doesnít matter whether the victims were Igbo traders or not, the mere shedding of blood of any citizen of this country calls for serious concern, moreso if the killing is shrounded in questionable circumstance.

Without jumping the gun, I must say here that I am in full support of the judicial inquiry set up by the government to probe that incident. It is not something the police which is being accused of involvement in the murder should be allowed to handle because people will not trust their neutrality in the case.

So the decision by the government to set up the judicial commission was okay by me because this is one case that has generated a lot of public outrage. People from all length and breadth of this country have spoken in unison in condemnation of the killing of those boys. The Igbo people whose sons were victims have equally been enraged at the whole thing. So, the judicial commission of inquiry couldnít have come at a better time than now because of the public concern.

The Inspector General of Police, has equally behaved like a decent and responsible officer by saying the things he had said and taking the position that he took. At least, that has, kind of, assuaged public temper and re-assured the families of the victims that justice will be done rather than covering up the whole thing.

The witnesses are also making confessions that might help ensure that justice is done where it is denied or the innocent is not punished when he is not guilty. But the most important thing is that the panel of inquiry has the support of concerned Nigerians and what is expected of them is to ensure the prevalence of justice by punishing the culprits if victims were truely not armed robbers.


Igbos are determined to get justice, by Nwosu

Former Health Minister and prominent leader of Ndigbo, Prof. ABC Nwosu extols the efforts of counsels to the families of the victims, Barristers Amobi Nzelu (SAN) and Nwafor Orizu who he said chose to take up the case out of sheer "brotherly patriotisim".

I was on AIT morning guest programme in Abuja a while ago today (Thursday) where I spoke on a number of contemporary national issues but I didnít have the opportunity of talking about the Apo killings.

You see, the Igbos are not happy at all about that incident. I am sure the government must have taken that into consideration when they decided to disband the DIG Mike Okiro panel set up by the police authority earlier to look into the matter. The suspicion and outrage that arose therefrom probably was another of governmentís consideration in doing what they did.

To me, that was a good gesture from President Olusegun Obasanjo whom I know to be a man who likes to do his things dispassionately without pandering unnecessarily to petty sentiments and considerations. I was one of the Igbo leaders who were told about the incident initially when it happened. We (Igbo leaders) were not happy about what happened. We were not happy at all because we felt that the manner in which those boys were killed fell short of justice. We knew from the beginning that the victims were not armed robbers as the police had claimed and that was what heightened our anger.

We (leaders of Igbo) met and agreed that the matter should be investigated by government or the appropriate authority because the action was wicked.

So, I support whatever action taken by the families of the victims to seek justice for the souls of their murdered sons. I support that action and I support the intervention of government through the judicial commission of inquiry. Ndigbo are determined to get justice. The evidences being given by the witnesses at the panel of inquiry are a testimony to the fact that the killing was pre-meditated.

I am not, by any means, trying to commit contempt of the commission of inquiry. No. I am merely saying what is very obvious to everybody that those boys were truly not armed robbers. We knew these all along. So, the disclosures at the panel are just a mere confirmation of what we knew to be true and we believe that the guilty should not go scot-free of their dastardly action.

I want to commend the action of the counsels to the families of the victims, Mr Amobi Nzelu (SAN) and Nwafor Orizu for their brotherly patriotism in deciding to take up the case. I am really very proud of them and I hope that the outcome of the inquiry will not vitiate their dogged efforts.

Letís give the panel a chance, says Maina

Senator Isa Maina, representing the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja says the commission of inquiry should be given time to do its work.

I have nothing really to say about the matter. I have been following the case no doubt, because where it (killing) happened (FCT Abuja) falls within my senatorial district. So I am bound to show interest in any issue relating to Abuja.

But having said that, the killing is condemnable moreso when innocent persons were involved. As a person, I really abhore bloodshed. We all know that it is against the law of the land for anybody to unlawfully take the life of another. But when a murder of this nature occurs especially when it involves those who are supposed to lawfully maintain law and order or protect life in the society (police), such matter calls for proper investigation and that is where the judicial commission of inquiry into the Apo killing of those six people comes in.

The panel has begun sitting and witnesses are already giving their evidences as to what they saw happen on that fateful day. But my plea here is that people should be patient until the commission of inquiry concludes its investigation.

We would be jumping the gun if we start talking about a matter of this nature which is currently before a competent panel set up by the Federal Government. We should build our trust and confidence in that panel so that at the end of the day, the outcome of their investigation will not be affected by sentiment.

So for now, letís give the panel a chance to do their work since they have started already and nobody is objecting. I believe very strongly that the panel we have in place now can do justice to the case.

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Comments (1)

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

Actually translates to bravehearted.