Alleged extrajudicial killing: Senator tried to offer me money while investigation ongoing, policeman tells NHRC panel
An Inspector with X-Squad section of State CID of the Federal Capital Territory Police Command on Tuesday told the independent investigate panel on violations of rights by the defunct SARS that a serving senator tried to offer him money while he was investigating the death of a lady, Ifeoma Abugu Stella.
The late Stella was alleged by her family, in a petition filed before the panel set up by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), to have been extrajudicially killed by SARS operatives who arrested her on September 10, 2020 in place of her fiancé they had gone to arrest and claimed that that she was on drugs and died as a result of high intake of drugs.
The family further alleged cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment against DSP Melai Isaac, Inspector Enlemali Agbede and Sergeant Ezekiel Agbede in the petition, marked 2020/IIP-SARS/ABJ/82.
The inspector, Ibe Eko, who is the investigating police officer who investigated the death of the deceased, told the panel that while awaiting the result of autopsy conducted on the remains of the deceased, adding that the pathologist, Dr B.A. Abimiku, called him to say that the senator representing the deceased wanted to see him (Eko) to collect money.
According to him, “Dr Abimiku called me on phone that a senator representing the deceased senatorial district wanted to see me to collect money. The doctor never told me what the money was meant for,” Eko told the panel.
He informed that he reported to the FCT Commissioner of Police, Bala Ciroma, who asked the doctor to tell the senator to see him (CP), saying that, “I am not aware if he came to see the CP.”
The inspector said when the autopsy result came out, the doctor put Stella’s cause of death as anoxia, adding that the Command consulted on Dr I.B Achusi from Federal Medical Centre, Abuja, for a second opinion.
He informed that when he together with the respondents and the deceased family inspected Stella’s remains at the Gwagwalada Specialists’ Hospital, the only thing they saw on the corpse was a little scratch on the left leg.
Under cross examination by counsel for the petitioners, Ifeanyi Cosmos Mamah, Eko said the police had to understand the autopsy report which was why they sought a second opinion.
He informed that when they inspected the remains of the deceased on September 21, 2020, there was an argument between the police and the family over who should pay for the autopsy, adding that the police eventually paid N450,000 for the autopsy.
Earlier, the first respondent, DSP Melai Isaac, had told the panel that a case of criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide was transferred from Bwari police station to the FCT Command, which later referred it to SARS.
According to him, one Lucky Idawor who was arrested in connection with the crime named one KC Afemefuna as the prime suspect.
“On 10th September, 2020, we went to his house. When we entered the house we didn’t see the suspect but we saw a lady, the deceased, with large cocaine. We arrested her,” he said.
Isaac informed that before they reached their office, the deceased was behaving funnily, adding that as it was getting serious, they took her to the Maitama General Hospital “where a senior nurse said she was dead.”
He added that not satisfied with this, the team took her to the Gwagwalada Specialists’ Hospital where a doctor also confirmed her dead and her remains were deposited in the mortuary.
The first respondent told the panel that not satisfied with the result of the autopsy, the police contacted another pathologist to write another report.
He informed that his team, which included Inspector Enlemali Agbede and Sergeant Ezekiel Agbede and himself, was investigated by the police in respect of the case.
He told the panel that the substance recovered from the deceased was later certified by the NDLEA as cocaine.
Meanwhile, the panel has adjourned the petition to April 28 for adoption of final written addresses.
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