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Woman cries over sonís murder ĎHe was my hope, my pride, now police have killed himí

Posted by By Beifoh Osewele on 2005/10/21 | Views: 513 |

Woman cries over sonís murder ĎHe was my hope, my pride, now police have killed himí

A 52-year-old woman, Mrs. Esther Odiase has appealed to the Federal Government, police highest command and public-spirited Nigerians to help unravel the circumstances surrounding the alleged killing of her son by the police in Benin City.

A 52-year-old woman, Mrs. Esther Odiase has appealed to the Federal Government, police highest command and public-spirited Nigerians to help unravel the circumstances surrounding the alleged killing of her son by the police in Benin City.

Ogbemudia Osagie, 30, a 1998 Political Science graduate of the Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, was arrested in the morning of October 1 as he was making a phone call in front of his fatherís house at Akenzua Lane and executed October 4 allegedly for armed robbery.

But Ogbemudiaís mother, friends, and other family members say he was a victim of "political cleansing." According to them, he was killed because of his allegiance to one of the opposition PDP factions in the state. The mother say: "I donít sleep at night. Whenever I close my eyes I see my son. Iím crying for my innocent son killed by agents of the government. He was my last hope. He gave me pride, now they have killed my pride and stolen my joy."
Mrs Odiase said amidst sobs:"My son, a thief? Never! He is my son and I can vouch for him. If he wanted to be whatever they accused him of, he would have been while in secondary school or even before he left the university. I gave my son a very decent upbringing that he would never contemplate going into armed robbery. We were not rich but I managed to meet his needs and he was quite satisfied.

When he was at Ekpoma, I made it a point of duty to visit him regularly and to take foodstuff and other essential needs to him. I did all that to spare him the trouble of having to run home all the time and so that he could concentrate on his studies. I bore the sacrifice because I knew that once he had graduated and secured a job he would in turn provide for me. I know that he would not leave me hungry. I know that he would remove the shame of poverty from me.

"They brought the news of his arrest to me in the market. I said for what? And they told me armed robbery. I just smiled because I knew it could never be. So, when I got to the station, I said, Ďoga, why did you arrest my son?í They said somebody mentioned his name that he was a member of their robbery gang."

Apparently thinking that it was a matter that would go away like a bad joke, Mrs Odiase had advised the police to ensure the matter was properly investigated. "I told them, oga make una look the matter well, make una investigate well". Having said that, she left the station.
For the first three days while her son was in police custody she made it a point of duty to take food and medications to him. "He was badly beaten and shot on both legs." When she left her son on the evening of October 3, she did not know that was the last time she would see him alive.

"I took food to him in the morning and evening of Monday and was told to come back at 6pm on Tuesday, but I got there 5:05pm only to be told that he had been moved to SCID at 5pm. I decided to carry the food to him there. When I got there, I was told he was not there. Then I went back to Adeyan Police Station but I couldnít locate him, and nobody was willing to tell me anything."
As at press time, she was yet to see Ogbemudiaís corpse, and she laments: "I want justice to prevail. I want good people of Nigeria to help ask the Edo State police command why my son was killed. I want justice to prevail. I want the police to come out and show to the world the incriminating things they found in his room when they conducted a search.

The world should help me ask them who or where my son robbed. If they can do that, I would be okay. In my life, my tears for my son would never dry. This wound would never heal neither would the pain go away except justice is done. I donít believe that I would ever forget about my son in my life because he was the child I expected would remove the shame of poverty from me. You can see the way I am; very poor. All I was selling in New Benin market, I invested on him. He told me, mummy, when I secure a job you would not suffer again. Now where is he to make good his promise? Oh, Edo police command, why me? Why?

"I donít believe there is hope for me again because my son was all that I lived for. That was one person I know that if he had N1, he would give me 50 kobo out of it. I have no hope or faith in Nigeria anymore. I donít see who can take his place. I leave whoever is responsible for this wicked fabrication to God. But everybody knows the killing of my son Ďna plan work."

Madam Odiase may have left the killers of her son to God but a rights group, The Human Rights Defenders Organisation (HURDON) has already protested the killing. In a petition to the Inspector-General of Police dated October 7, HURDON said: "As a Human Rights body, we have no objection to the Police conducting their constitutional duties, more especially in a volatile state like Edo for we do not want to demoralize the rank and file for that will spell doom for the State. But be that as it may, the Commissioner of Police has become so partisan that he has become an issue in the State. He has become a part of the violence that has bedeviled the State. He is not just a PDP member but the backer of the faction called Grace Group. To him, anybody opposed to Grace Group is either a robber, a gunrunner, has armoury or a bunker in his house.

Speaking in Benin, Barr. Caseley Omo-Irabor, stressed that Ogbemudia was a mere victim of political intrigues. Apparently to buttress his argument, he told Daily Sun that the late Ogbemudia was actually the arrowhead of the security team put in place to guard PDP office in Benin loyal to the Chief Tony Anenih faction. He said the other faction had made series of futile overtures to him to cross over. "So, they felt the only way to get even was to silence him," he alleged.

The state police command spokesman, Mr. Peter Ogboi in a reaction last week denied that the Police Commissioner was a politician and warned that he should not be dragged into politics.
HURDON has vowed not to relent until justice is done on the matter.

In the petition, HURDON wants the police high command to thoroughly investigate the incident even as it made demands which include immediate redeployment of the Police Commissioner, Edo State Command and the disbandment of the SARS, Edo command; the setting up a judicial panel of enquiry and the immediate release of the corpse to the family for autopsy.
Lastly, it wants adequate compensation to Ogbemudiaís family.

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