* First four policemen
* Female officer who focused on his genital organ now arrested
* 29 detained protesters freed
* Independent autopsy approved for February 9
Culled from BD Sunday
Chima Ikwunado may have been unassuming, quiet and humble while alive, but he seems to be a hot iron and moving force at death. Now, some six male police officers have been arrested, the female officer they could not touch has been detained, the commander of the scandalized E-Crack Squad has been removed, and the surviving Ikokwu boys have been freed, the 29 protesters that were clamped into detention and given robbery charges have been released.
That is not all, the commissioner of police in the state is opening up, up to condoling the family, proper autopsy is to be conducted, and the Inspector General of Police is said to have ordered thorough investigation and prosecution of offenders.
Chima’s spirit may not be acting alone. The power of mass action has manifested fully in the running scandal where mindless police officers allegedly tortured suspects to death. The survivors talked of two other detainees that dropped dead and were pulled off like sticks to join Chima, making three deaths while the Ikokwu boys were there. This has raised fears that the police has turned into a killing machine with torture chambers openly in action right opposite the busiest market (Mile One Market in Diobu) in the Niger Delta.
The greatest breakthrough in the saga was the revelation that Chima was dead. One of the survivors told newsmen last week how he used slang to hint his people that Chima was dead. This was when the police officers had started mellowing down and even courted the support of the survivors to collaborate the story they would tell about Chima in return for favours.
The charge sheet had indicated that Chima was missing and this was what was conveyed to the family when it leaked that the missing five were in Mile One Police Division many days after they were not found. The offence was diving one way but at the E-Crack, it quickly turned to car snatching, armed robbery and cultism.
About N150,000 was found on four of the boys and this may have led to extreme torturing to make them admit to crimes and probably make the money disappear.
The survivor said when he was allowed to make call to send help, he told his listening that ‘Chima don shite”. This immediately caused stirs and soon, lawyers, union leaders and activists began to swam the police. They quickly sent the case to court to probably get rid of the boys from the police.
Human rights lawyers said they deliberately charged them to a magistrate court without jurisdiction probably to stall trial when most of the boys carried deathly wounds without any form of medication.
The survivors also explained the mystery of the high sugar level labeled as cause of death. One middle-aged man among them, Ifeanyi Onyenekwe, said to be a member of the Peoples Club and was this nicknamed Odogwu, was repeatedly chewing bitter kola and refusing soft drinks.
The investigation police officer (IPO) accused him of chewing his charm but he vigorously refuted it, rather saying he had high sugar and needed the bitter kola always. When Chima died, they hardly could know which person had a case of high sugar and they placed it on the late Chima.
Since the uproar over the Chima deaths, the police seemed to do all things to cover up the deed but pressure seemed too much as the international community showed huge interest in a week Nigeria was being de-listed and banned for US visa. This may have added to the irritation of the presidency along with the Imo scandal where the a party that came fourth ended up first to dethrone a ruling governor. Justice seemed to die in Nigeria.
After delaying for weeks, the wheel of justice began to move, albeit slowly as the voice of the masses rose louder. The Rivers State government seemed to wash its hands off the blood by using the director of public prosecution (DPP) to upturn the shoddy but empty charges, and freed the four and now the 29.
The state police command followed with arrests; and now peace seems to return to the state as the Ikokwu traders and mechanics that were prepared to start shut down eased a sigh of relief and stood down action. The police seems to be acting faster now.
By Thursday, February 6, 2020, Rivers Police Command met the family for the second time and announced that he has redeployed the Commander of E-Crack Squad, a Superintendent of Police, Benson Abisoye, in whose custody the late mechanic was allegedly tortured.
The Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura, who spoke for the first time on the scandal, said the E-Crack Commander (Abisoye) had to be redeployed to give way to investigations as the IG ordered. He condoled Chima’s wife pregnant for nine months at the moment and the entire family and assured that prosecution will get to any officer involved in the death and torture.
He must be referring to the clamour for arrest of the female police officer who was mentioned as the one who did things to the Chima’s genital organ and allegedly said even if he lived, he would not be able to pregnant his wife.
Meanwhile, a human rights lawyer, Henry Ekine, said that the report of an autopsy is not a prerequisite for instituting criminal proceedings in murder cases.
Ekine pointed out that there are landmark Supreme Court judgments on murders that has said that there are a lot more than medical report. He however said there is a enough evidence that officers of E-crack Squad tortured Chima Ikwunado to death and inhumanly tortured the other Ikokwu four.
The female officer named as Sergeant Rose has joined six other named police officers on detention at the State Criminal Investigations Department on Moscow Road, Port Harcourt. The others are named as Inspector Ayogu Fidelis, Inspector Enyina Samuel, Inspector Tope, Inspector Uche, Sergeant Ake Chibuzor and Sergeant Philip Obi.
Human rights groups are holding more meetings to strategise in pursing the matter and many other discoveries at the cell.
The general overseer of Omega Power Ministries (OPM), Chibuzor Gift Chinyere, has stepped in to offer succor to the widow, unborn child and Chima’s parents. He has offered a flat for the women to live, to pay all hospital bills and education of the child up to the university abroad. The offer is making ripples in the Niger Delta and beyond.