An artisan , Deacon Christopher Okoroafor Ukaegbu has alleged that a Nigerian solider shot and killed his nephew Mr Ikenna Friday, a butcher at waterside Ogbor Hill Aba on may 5th, 2016 while the solider was allegedly on the way to buy Indian hemp.
The petitioner, who lived at Abaenwa Street, New Umuahia Road, Ogbor Hill Aba, however regretted that four years after the incident, the family is yet to put the incident behind them as his corpse is still lying in the mortuary.
Deacon Ukaegbu made the allegation at Aguiyi Ironsi conference centre, Umuahia while testifying before Abia State Panel of Inquiry on Police brutality, Extra-Judicial Killings and Other Related Matters, headed by Retired Justice Sunday Imo in Umuahia.
According to Ukaegbu, one Oluchi Egbendu called him at about 3pm on that fateful day to report the ugly incident, adding that colleagues and neighbors of late Ikenna Friday were carrying his corpse around Enyimba city on a peaceful demonstration.
“I went in search of the crowd and accosted them around Bata Axis Aba, and promptly identified the corpse as my nephew.
It was at this point that police officers appeared on the scene and sprayed tear-gas to disperse the crowd and thereafter took the remains of late Ikenna Friday to Abia State University Teaching Hospital Mortuary Aba.”
He continued, “After two weeks, we visited the police area command, Aba to demand the release of my nephew in order to lay him to rest”. We were meant to understand during the visit that the trigger happy solider that shot late Ikenna Friday is now in police custody, stressing that police is investigating the matter.”
He said that their demand for the release of his nephew for burial fell on deaf ears, they took the case to their traditional ruler, his Royal Majesty, Eze Eberechi Dick, who immediately wrote a letter to the Commander, 14 military Brigade Ohafia, yet no response came from the army according to petitioner, Deacon Ukaegbu.
After a while, Eze Dick wrote another letter or reminder, still nothing was heard from the Army. At this juncture, the family of Deacon Ukaegbu took their case to Abia State Attorney-General and commissioner for justice, who stepped into the matter.
Accordingly, the Abia State commissioner of police directed Area command , Aba to do the needful.
Deacon Ukaegbu reported that the Area command has advised Abia State Teaching Hospital to release the corpse, but unfortunately, the hospital is demanding the payment of N350,000 mortuary bill before the corpse would be released which the family does not have.
“Since we don’t have that kind of money, late Ikenna Friday has not been interred for over 4 years.”
He lamented that the alleged solider that killed his nephew in cold blood has not been prosecuted in any court in Nigeria, neither has the Army commiserated with their family.
Deacon Ukaegbu finally made three prayers to the Judicial Panel of Inquiry; One, that the panel should mandate Abia State University Teaching Hospital to release the remains of late Ikenna Friday, as they don’t have funds to settle the Mortuary bills; two, since the siblings of late Ikenna Friday, their bread winner are orphans and underaged, scholarship scheme should be made available to them and that the sum of 50 million naira be paid to the siblings of late Ikenna Friday for their upkeep.
But the respondends, Nigerian Army has twice failed to appear before the Judicial Panel of Inquiry.
Accordingly, the chairman of Abia State judicial Panel of Inquiry Retired Justice Sunday Imo, declared for the interest of justice, hearing notice must again be served to the respondent.
The matter was adjourned till February 9, 2021, for cross-examination of the petitioner.