Alleged extrajudicial killing: NHRC orders police officers to appear before it

The independent investigative panel on violations of rights by defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police units set up by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), on Tuesday, reaffirmed its December 3, 2020 order directing all police officers present when one Ovoke Onomrerhino died in their custody to appear before it.

The chairman of the panel, Justice Suleiman Galadima (retd), made the order once again at the resumed hearing of the petition filed by the father of the deceased, Godwin Onomrerhino, on behalf of his son, who he alleged was killed extra-judicially by the former Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Abraka Police Division, Delta State, CSP Hassan Isah; the chairman of Igun Vigilante in Ethiope East Local Government of the state, Mr Odiri Emeni.

The petitioner had joined CSP Isah; the Investigating Police Officer (IPO), Kambari Tambari; Emeri; Igun Vigilante, Delta State Commissioner of Police and the Inspector-General of Police as respondents in the petition.

Following the failure of the police officers who Tambari claimed were together with him in the police vehicle the day the deceased allegedly jumped from the vehicle to appear before the panel today, Justice Galadima reaffirmed the panel’s earlier order.

According to the chairman, “The order of December 3, 2020, still stands. In addition, Inspector Kambari Tambari should produce before the panel the documents on the movement of the deceased corpse.”

He then adjourned further hearing of the petition till March 15.

When the petition was first heard on December 3, 2020, the petitioner narrated how his son was allegedly killed by the police, adding that he later wrote a petition to NPF Zone 5 for investigation.

He told the panel that the police had yet to release the remains of his son to him for burial, saying that the police claimed they were still investigating the matter and as such could only release the corpse after completion of the investigation.

CSP Isah and Inspector Tambari while testifying before the panel the same day gave contradictory accounts of the death of Ovoke, who they alleged was an armed robber.

Isah said the deceased was arrested on June 29, 2019, by the Igun Vigilante for an armed robbery incident on the Eku-Igun highway in Delta State on June 28, 2019.

The former Abraka DPO said the victim took policemen to where his gang kept their operational weapons they used in the robbery operation, adding that as they were returning to the station the deceased jumped from the police vehicle while in motion and got injured.

He added that he went to inspect him and gave his men N5,000 to take the victim to the Abraka General Hospital for treatment.

“I was told Ovoke confessed and wanted to take the police to where their operational weapons used for the robbery on Igun road. When they came back, they told me that they recovered two guns and some cartridges.

“As they were driving into the station, Ovoke jumped down from the vehicle while it was moving and got himself injured. He was rearrested and brought to the station. I ordered that he be taken to Abraka General Hospital.

“I ordered ASP Alex to follow them. I gave them about N5,000 to commence treatment. It was Alex that informed me that while he (Ovoke) was receiving treatment he died,” CSP Isah told the panel.

While informed that the remains of the deceased were still lying at a private mortuary at Obiaruku, Delta State, Isah denied having a hand in the Ovoke’s death.

On his part, Tambari stated that the late Ovoke attempted to escape and jumped out of the police vehicle after they recovered the armed robbers’ operational weapons where they kept it and hit the road.

“As we were going back to Abraka around 1:30 am, he jumped out of the vehicle and hit himself on the road. He was unconscious and we rushed him to the hospital.

“He was confirmed dead at the hospital, Abraka General Hospital. Based on the incident we contacted our DPO who advised that we should take him to the mortuary, Medisarj Hospital at Obiakuru,” the Tambari, who was the IPO in the case, told the panel.

While adjourning till January 28, the panel ordered that Tambari and the four other police officers he claimed were in the vehicle with him the day the deceased died to appear before it.

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Alleged extrajudicial killing: NHRC orders police officers to appear before it

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