Posted by By Ndidi Onuora on
THE Federal Government has ordered the release of the bodies of the Apo Six and that of the late Police Constable Anthony Idam to their families for burial.
ABUJA— THE Federal Government has ordered the release of the bodies of the Apo Six and that of the late Police Constable Anthony Idam to their families for burial.
The families immediately reacted, insisting that they would not collect the bodies until government, among others, made an official statement clearing the victims of allegation of armed robbery levelled at them by the police.
The result of the autopsy on the deceased policeman, also released yesterday showed that he died of organophosphate poisoning. Signed by Professor O. S. Ojo of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, the report reads in part: "It is quite clear that this death was not due to natural causes. Rather observed toxic acute tubular necrosis of the kidney is consistent with presence of ‘chlorinated hydrocarbons and organophosphates’ in the blood and body fluids which is a well recognised consequence of organophosphate poisoning."
In a four-paragraph letter to counsel to the families of five of the victims, Mr. Amobi Nzelu said: "Consequent upon this commission’s interim report to the Federal Government on the request for the release of the bodies, Secretary to the Government of the Federation has conveyed Mr. President’s approval and, therefore, has directed that the bodies be released to the relatives of the deceased persons for burial pending the Federal Government’s consideration of the comprehensive report to be submitted to it by the commission."
The development, government said, was borne out of its consideration and the opinion of medical experts on the issue for an early burial." It said "other issues attendant to the burial will be dealt with when the commission’s final report yet to be presented to the government is considered."
Signed by the Secretary, Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the killings, Mr. Isaac Idu, the letter further stated: "Accordingly, you are hereby requested to inform your clients that the bodies of the five males and one female are available for collection at the Garki Hospital Mortuary, Abuja and that of the late PC Anthony Idam at the National Hospital Mortuary, Abuja respectively, please."
However, in a swift reaction to the development, the families of the deceased and Apo Traders Association (ATASS) expressing appreciation to the Federal Government and the commission insisted that they would not abide by the Federal Government’s order pending the final report of the commission which would be submitted this week as certain conditions have to be fulfilled by the government.
In a joint letter to the Federal Government through Mr. Nzelu dated August 22, the families said: "We wish to inform you of our stand towards the burial arrangement and its involvements with the present situation of the case."
Signed by the Chairman, ATASS, Mr. Motimo Ihejirika, and representatives of the deceased families, the letter reads: "That the people killed being the members of the association will be given a befitting burial according to the constitution of the association as well as the custom of the land where the deceased came from.
"And that the corpses will not be buried until final report is submitted to the Federal Government by the Commission of Inquiry and the reaction of the Federal Government made known to the public."
They are also demanding, among other things, that the copies of the reports/recommendations which they are entitled to be properly documented and for a round table discussion with the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero, to formalise the burial arrangement, warning that any move contrary to the demand would be highly resisted. "Any contrary move against our demand will be highly resisted with the last drop of our blood," they said.
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