The Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative (IPDI) has called on the Inspector-General of Police, Adamu Mohammed to investigate the Commissioner of Police in Edo state and some of his men over an alleged extrajudicial killing of six Edo-Ijaw youth in the state.
The group, in a statement signed by its president, Comrade Austin Ozobo and acting spokesman, Mayor Timi Ogobiri, said they received news on October 8, 2019 that seven Ijaw youths were framed up and six of them murdered by police officers attached to the state CID over “unsubstantiated, unfounded and basless allegations of plotting to abduct someone in the state.”
They said the seventh person was released after paying N500,000.
The statement reads: “We were told that the youths were picked by Mr Balogun, OC anti-kidnapping squad in their houses when they were asleep. They were arrested with no arm and any form of resistance. They made their statements and were detained in State CID at Edo state force headquarters, and after some days in police detention, 6 Ijaw youths Mr. Okoh Omus, Yeke None Agbefun and Hope Tortor Uroupa and three others were brought out from the police cell and were given extrajudicial murder by the squad led by Mr. Balogun. And the next day, one Lawani, the seventh person was granted bail with the sum of Five Hundred Thousand (#500,000.00).
“This case is different from the alleged shootout between police and suspected kidnappers in the state. None of these seven persons engaged in any shootout with the police as they were arrested bassed on unfounded intelligence report from their homes.”
“They were killed on mere speculations and suspicion, no trial and conviction. This is jungle justice. Nigeria has been turned to a banana republic. It is a pity that the police under the current IGP have become lawless and blood sucking. We demand for justice. The Commissioner of Police, Edo state and the said squad led by Mr. Balogun must give account of the death of the said 6 Ijaw youths without further delay.
“It is appalling that the police is now the court to order for summary execution of suspects under its facilities, exercising a power that the police do not have. The youths were mere suspects. They have freedom of fair hearing. Their right to life has been violated. They were killed without trial. This is unlawful and sheer murder. We are aware of the script the police in Benin are playing, but we are not perturbed because the end shall justify the means. If they have actually committed crimes, they would have been charged and tried. The law made it clear, killing suspects after obtaining statements is punishable by law. Those police officers must face the music.”
The group alleged that some Benin youths brandishing AK 47 rifles threatened Ijaws in an online video but none of them was arrested. It accused the police of taking sides with the Binis against Ijaws in the state.
“This is unacceptable as we will not fold our hands over this sheer murder. We are sending a formal petition to IGP as well within the coming days,” they said.
They then called on the IGP to “investigate and bring to justice, the Commissioner of Police, Edo state, and police officers led by Mr. Balogun in the state CID for the extermination of the 6 Ijaw youths within 7days for the interest of peace in the state.”