Police operatives ‘killed’ father of 5 in Delta, deceased’s father tells NHRC panel

By Ameh Ejekwonyilo

The Independent Investigative Panel on human rights violations by defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other units of the Nigerian Police on Thursday ordered the Police to produce the medical records and post-mortem report of one Ovoko Godwin Onomrerhino who was allegedly killed by the Police in 2019.

The Investigative panel chaired by Justice Suleiman Galadima (rtd) directed the Investigative Police Officer (IPO), Kambari Tambari to ensure that the said medical records from the Hospital in Delta state (where Ovoko, now deceased was taken for medical treatment before his death) is brought before the panel.

The police told the panel that Ovoko who was handcuffed jumped off a moving police van that was conveying him to Abraka Divisional Police Station.

The complainant, Mr. Godwin Onomrerhino who testified as father of the deceased, told the panel that he received a telephone call from his son’s landlord informing him that the police officers had arrested his son.

It was at this point, he stated that he visited Abraka Divisional Police station where he was arrested and detained for two days by the police after calling him “father of armed robber”.

He informed the panel that he was eventually released from police detention following a petition written by his family members to the AIG Zone 5, Benin Edo state.

The complainant, who told the panel that his deceased son left behind five (5) children, recalled that it was when the police released him from their custody that they told him for the first time that his son, Ovoko was dead and his corpse was deposited at Medisaj Morgue Obiaruko in Delta State.

Asked on what he wanted the panel to do for him in the circumstance, he demanded the sum of N100m compensation from all the respondents including the CSP Hassan Isah (DPO Abraka Police Station), Mr. Odiri Emeni (Igun Vigilantee) in Ethiope East LGA Delta state, Commissioner of Police Delta state and Inspector General of Police.

He also prayed the panel to order that the respondents including CSP Hassan Isah and his men or anyone involved in the death of his son be prosecuted in accordance with the law.

The complainant had earlier informed the panel that Ovoko (the deceased) was a pipeline welder and that he was never involved in any form of armed robbery (a crime he was accused of) along Abraka-Igun road as claimed by Abraka Divisional Police station.

On the other hand, CSP Hassan Isah informed the panel that the Igu Vigilante group arrested Ovoko with the help of a police team he (the DPO) directed to assist the vigilante in the said arrest.

According to him, he got a phone call from Mr. Odiri Emeni, leader of the Vigilante informing him of an armed robbery incident in Igun community and that one of the suspects was identified by some of the victims of the said robbery case.

The DCP stated that his men succeeded in arresting one of the suspects, Ode Godspower whom he noted was immediately identified by some of the robbery victims who according to him were already waiting at Abraka Divisional Police station when the police team arrived with the suspect.

The case was adjourned till January 28, 2021, for further hearing.

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