December 3, 2022

Who Killed Obinna? More Policemen in Trouble Over Alleged Murder

..Abuja Panel Summon Three Additional Officers

By Shola Akingboye

The Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights Violations by the defunct SARS and other units of the Nigerian Police Force, has on Monday exercised its powers ordering three more police officers to appear before it as respondents in a petition over an alleged extra-judicial killing of one Mr. Obinna Jonah, by SARS operatives in Abuja.

The Chairman of the 11-Man panel, Justice Suleiman Galadima (rtd), made the order following an oral application of complainant’s counsel, E.C. Chukwu, who informed the panel that the presence of the three officer are necessary in arriving at the justice of the petition.

The three police officers joined in the petition are CSP Adebayo, Sgt. Gambo Gazama and Corporal Abubakar Mohammed.

The counsel to the petitioner had alleged that police counsel, Fidelis Ogwobe suddenly disappeared from the panel on Tuesday, when he realised that he has no excuse to offer for not bringing the affected policemen before the panel.

Also, the panel had earlier ordered that the said officers should be produced before it unfailingly and Ogwobe promised to ensure their appearance before the panel, a promised he is yet to fulfil.

The complainant’s counsel, Chukwu, as would be recall on 24th of March, 2021, insisted that the police should ensure the appearance of the three officers who are now joined as paties and respondents in the petition alongside the defunct SARS FCT, Commissioner of Police FCT and the Inspector General of Police who are 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents respectively.

Chukwu argued that the testimonies of one of the complainant’s witness, Abbah Onoja that the deceased Obinna was in good health condition before he was beaten and detained by the police shows that those police officers who were responsible for his detention have questions to answer concerning his death.

He informed the panel that he initially had a challenge with the actual names of the three police officers who according to him were mentioned by Onoja in his testimonies before the panel, and of those he finally obtained their names from the counsel to the panel, Olawale Afolabi.

Earlier, brother to the late Obinna, Okechukwu Jonnah had expressed fear before the IPP-SARS Panel that his brother must have been killed by police.

His belief was strengthened by a statement made before the panel by a witness, Abbah Onoja who said that he was arrested with his friend Chizoba Samuel at a friend’s house in Karmo a suburb in the FCT, over an allegation of belonging to a cult.

Onoja told the panel that late Obinna and several others were later arrested the same day after his (Onoja’s) arrest over the same allegation. He said they were all tortured to admit that they were cultists.

According to Onoja, the severe beating received by Obinna must have resulted in his death. He added that Obinna was unable to walk after the severe beating he suffered.

Speaking further, Onoja said, they were later taken to police command:

“when we got there, Obinna could not walk again, I was the one who held him. He could not also talk again when he was asked some questions, the officer in charge who asked the questions began to severely hit Obinna with his baton saying he was not ready to talk”.

“He said they were later moved to the popular SARS detention center at abattoir for further investigation”

“On getting to the abattoir, Onoja said one DSP Jumbo who seems to be the head of the place instructed that Obinna should be dropped”

“He was kept in the cell and by the next morning he was dead, the inmates were asked to bring his corpse”. He stressed.

Onoja insisted that Obinna was in a good state of health when he was arrested.

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