The Coalition of Concerned Civil Society Organizations in Rivers State has issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Attorney General of the State, all relevant authorities to arrest and prosecute the E-crack Commander SP. Benson Abisoye and the Investigating Police Officer involved in the gruesome murder of late Chima Ikwunado, torture of the Ikoku four and other victims of police brutality.
Addressing journalists in Port Harcourt, Spokesperson of the group, Kelechi Ameachi, said the Civil Society Organisations and her partners are perturbed by the unconscious manner relevant government institutions are handling such matters, as nothing has been done to bring the officers to justice despite substantial evidence against them.
He noted that instead of the Police Force to prosecute SP Benson Abisoye for the crime committed, he was redeployed and promoted, while the investigating police officer was not charged and has never been charged in any court.
“We the members of the Coalition of Concerned Civil Society Organisations in Rivers State in collaboration with our partners, Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN), UK Aid and Rivers Civil Society Organisations (RIVCSO) are profoundly worried about the perennial cases of Police murder, brutality and torture in Nigeria.
“Particularly the gruesome murder of Chima Ikwunado, Chibuike Daniel Ikeagwuchi aka Sleek, Sergeant Lavender Elekwachi, Gospel Gbaraka and the Keke driver in Rukpokwu town, including the vicious torture of Victor Ogbonna, Osaze Friday, Ifeanyi Osuji and Ifeanyi Onyekwere all in Rivers State.
“Recall that on the 23rd December 2019, Chima Ikwunado was acknowledged dead at the Mile one Police Station Diobu, Port Harcourt, and other four suspects arrested with him confirmed that he was tortured to death and grievous bodily wounds on their bodies also corroborate the assertion that they were tortured but narrowly escaped death.
“As a result of Civil Society engagements, media advocacy and the escalation of this inhumanity to man, the Nigerian Police and the erring Officers were investigated and disciplined though with a slap on the wrist. Unfortunately, only four of the six indicted officers are facing prosecution, the IPO was never charged to any competent Court of jurisdiction”.
He, however, stated that the Anti-Torture Act passed in 2017 as a law of the federal republic of Nigeria, prohibits torture, penalizes torture with a term of 25 years imprisonment.
“Section 7(4) of the said Act stipulates that “The immediate commanding officer of the unit concerned of the security or law enforcement agencies is held liable as an accessory to the crime for any act of omission or negligence on his part that may have led to the Commission of torture by his subordinates”. Hence, this provision creates and places strict liability on the commanding officer.
“The position of our coalition is that there is inequality in the administration of justice in Nigeria and that redress/justice is incomplete if all suspects involved in the torture are not prosecuted.
“We call for the Prosecution of SP Benson Abisoye and the Police Investigating Officer to ensure respect for the laws of the federal republic of Nigeria and to win the trust of the people who are watching keenly to see a composite justice for Chima Ikwunado and the entire humanity affected by this heinous insensitive and immoral acts of the erring Police Officers.
“Our coalition of human rights advocates and defenders give the Attorney General of Rivers State and other relevant authorities a 14-day ultimatum to open up prosecution of SP Benson Abisoye and the IPO in order to avoid a second wave of multiple escalations of this matter both nationally and internationally”.
Also, the mother of late Gospel Gbaraka, a 32-year-old graduate of Accounting Department, Abia State University, who was brutally murdered by a Police Officer James Warba, on 21st November 2020 while discharging his duty as a security guard in a company located at Abonema Wharf Road Port Harcourt, has called for justice for the unlawful murder of her son.
According to her, late Gospel Gbaraka was her only hope, who promised to take care of her and the family and his life cut short by a Police Officer for no offence committed.
She called on all relevant government institutions to prosecute James Warba to the full weight of law, as the family will not rest till justice is done to her late while urging the Police force not to sweep the crime committed by the officer under the carpet.