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15th Anniversary: Ohanaeze holds colloquium on Apo Six

Fifteen years after five Igbo traders and fiancée of one of them were murdered in cold blood by policemen allegedly on the instruction of then Deputy Commissioner of Police in-charge of Operations in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command, DCP Danjuma Ibrahim, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo is organizing a Colloquium in their honour.

The Colloquium with the main theme: “Remembering the Apo 6: June 8th Blood on Gimbiya Street” also has a sub-theme “15 Years without Justice in Sight”, and will hold later today.

The ceremony is being organized by the FCT Chapter of the apex Igbo socio-cultural body, with the support of Igbo Renaissance Forum and the Apo Traders Association.

Hosted by Chief Odozi Nwodozi, former Chairman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in FCT, has erudite scholars and human rights activists including, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC); Chief Chris Uche (SAN); Dr. Sam Amadi, Senior Lecturer at the Law Faculty, Baze University, Abuja; Chief (Mrs.) Ifenyinwa Obegolu, former National Commissioner (Legal Matters), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); Barr. Amobi Nzelu and Nze Ugo Akpe Onwuka, as discussants.

Owing to the covid-19 pandemic, the Colloquium will be conducted via the Zoom application today by 7pm.

Recall that late on June 7th, 2005 up to the early hours of June 8th, 2005, five Igbo traders, Ekene Isaac Mgbe, Ifeanyin Ozor, Chinedu Meniru, Paulinus Ogbonna and Anthony Nwokike, who were all auto spare parts dealers, and the finacee of one of them, Miss Augustina Arebu, were murdered by Policemen of the FCT Command allegedly on the instruction of DCP Ibrahim.

The killing ignited strong protests from Apo Traders, who insisted that framing the innocent as armed robbers as the FCT Police Command attempted to do, was unacceptable.

An Administrative Probe Panel set up by then Inspector-General of Police (IGP) headed by then Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Administration), DIG Mike Okiro, and a Judicial Panel of Enquiry headed by Justice Olasumbo Goodluck, which was set up by then President Olusegun Obasanjo found the DCP and all the police officers guilty of the murder.

The Federal Government also apologized for the murder, exhumed the bodies of the deceased from shallow graves where they were buried at the Gudu Cemetery, handed them over to the families for their reburial, and paid N5 million compensation to each of the deceased families, to cover the burial expenses.

However, around March 6, 2017, an Abuja High Court presided over by the Chief Judge of the FCT, Justice Ishaq Bello, convicted only Ezekiel Achejene and Emmanuel Baba, the two policemen who claimed they received instructions from DCP Ibrahim to murder the six youths, while acquitting Ibrahim on the ground that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict him (Danjuma).

Since the killing of the youths, the families have been in anguish, insisting that the mastermind of the killing of their relations, was set free and accused the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) of refusing to appeal the judgment in line with the wishes of the family.

They accused Malami of tribal sentiments on the matter, but efforts to get Malami to comment on the accusations since last year were rebuffed.

Earlier before the Colloquium, the deceased families plan to conduct their regular annual “Candle Light Prayers” at the T-Junction Gimbiya Street, Area Eleven, the very spot where the first set of their relations were killed 15 years ago.

According to Edwin Meniru and Elvis Ozor, spokespersons of the deceased families, “we have since handed our faith to God. We are not fighting anybody, but we can’t just forget our relations, the bread winners of our families who were killed in cold blood by trigger happy police officers just because the fiancée to our brother refused to dance with the DCP inside a lounge at the Grand Mirage Hotel along Port Harcourt Street, off Gimbiya Street.

“As we have done in previous years, we will simply assembly there, pray for the repose of our relations and go away quietly. We are poor Nigerians, there is nothing more we can do about the dead,” they said.

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