A man with four children who hails from Isu community, Onitsha local government area, Ebonyi State, Chidiebere Njoku, has alleged that his right hand has been disfigured and cannot function actively due to reckless gunshot injuries inflicted on him by the police.
The plumber who is about 43 years old, appeared before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry Into Police Brutality and Extra Judicial Killings holding in Owerri on Monday, told the Panel that he and his brother were on commercial motorcycle (Okada) on 14th May, 2020 at Uruala, “as we were passing, we heard gunshot from the direction of the policemen who parked their Hilux vehicle inside Uruala local government area headquarters, Ideato North, Imo State.
“I noticed that my hand was bleeding profusely. I asked the motorcyclist to stop. We went and asked them why they short at us, they denied. In the process, I fell. They asked my brother and the motorcyclist to raise me. Instead of helping me to the hospital, they jumped into their Hilux vehicle and ran away”.
Chidiebere Njoku further stated that they “went to Osina Police Station on Okada where we met Inspector Collins who I narrated my ordeal to. He permitted us (with doctor’s report) to go to Nwabueze Hospital at Osina where I was treated.
Three medical doctors came from FMC Owerri to perform the surgery, because the injuries were severe on me having been shot on two places on my right hand which is now disfigured. The police managed to pay for treatment, bills and other expenses were met by me and my brother. I wrote to them, but my request was ignored.
“I cannot use my right hand to do anything strong again. Neither could I do plumb work. My four children, my wife is all depending on me for feeding, upkeep and welfare. I pray to the government to help me through this panel to make our lives more meaningful”, he said further.
The petitioner, who appeared with a lawyer, Dominic.C. Okeke, adopted his petition as his evidence. His matter was adjourned to 25th November 2020.
Nine petitions were heard by the commission on Monday which bother on police killing, brutality, unlawful detention, extortion, unlawful seizure of property and threat to life. Some of the petitioners were Pastor Damian Ajubi, Maurice Ajubi, Pastor Leonard Owuama, C. Owuama, Mr Nwaiwu David Ugochukwu, Godwin Nwaigwe Iheanacho, Ogu Nathaniel, Miracle Duruawuzie and Longinus Uchenna Nweke whose matters were adjourned to 23rd, 24th, 25h and 26th November, 2020 for defense and witness.
Counsels for the commission, Mazi Udoegbulam, Roosevelt Mbamara, who appeared on Monday, sought to be given time for service of summons to indicted police officers, banks and others.
Condemning two indicted police officers, inspectors Patricia Odika and Vitalis Chukwu, for appearing for defence, Chairman of the Panel, Hon Justice Felicia Duruoha, regretted that some indicted police officers, banks and others were reluctant to appear before the commission for defence and witness despite notices of summons issued to them.
Duruoha added that despite all odds the commission will still go on with the petitions as “fair hearing is about given the other side an opportunity to be heard. It does not mean that they (respondents) must be heard. When we give you that opportunity and you do not cease it. You cannot stop the work of the commission which is determined to achieve a goal”.