The family of Ugochukwu Ozuah, a 36-year-old man who was allegedly killed by policemen five days after his wedding, has told the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, to stop the incessant extra-judicial killings in the country.
The family also demanded for a letter of apology from the IG due to what it described as an insensitive response to the issue by the Lagos State Police Command.
The sister of the deceased, Mrs. Nkechi Nonyelu, said this during a condolence visit by the police to the family in Lagos on Saturday.
Nkechi, along with her siblings, wore black T-shirts displaying the deceased picture, with the inscription, ‘Ugo Ozuah, another victim of extra-judicial killing.’
Abubakar had on Thursday constituted a team from the Federal Criminal Investigation Department to take over the investigation of Ozuah killing.
The team, led by Mr. Chris Ezike, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, promised the family that investigations would be transparent.
Nkechi however told Ezike that apart from investigating the murder, there was need for police reform due to the incessant extra-judicial killings by policemen.
She said, “Our family just lost the only son. My brother was intelligent and could have even become president of Nigeria but his life was cut short.
“My mother had lost a son before and just lost her husband. Now, the only son was killed just five days after his wedding. Doctors have been trooping in since then to attend to my mother and Ugochukwu’s (Ozuah’s) wife.
“Police killings must stop and things must change. The police need to start having human feelings and respect the sanctity of the lives of the Nigerians they have sworn to protect.”
Nkechi told the team that the family was aggrieved not only because of the loss of their son but also due to the manner with which the police responded to their plight.
She said, “If the police had commiserated with the family immediately after the incident, nerves would have been calmed. It took the police over a week to commiserate with the family. We want a written letter of apology from the IG.
“The message the police were sending was that the matter does not concern the force since my brother was killed by robbers. It doesn’t matter who killed him, all we want is justice.”
The mother of the deceased, Chinwe, with tears in her eyes, said all she wanted was justice for her son’s death.
Ezike told the family that the team comprises 12 detectives, adding that investigations would be very thorough.
The DCP said he was among the team of policemen that investigated the murder of the founding managing director of Mobitel Nig.Ltd, Mr. Charles Joseph, in 2005.
He said, “The IG sent us here because of the need to remain neutral and professional since the police in Lagos have been fingered in the said crime and it would not be right for them to act as judges over a matter against them. We will visit the crime scene, the mortuary and also the Anthony Police Station. We’ll carry out forensic investigation.
“We will inspect the corpse as well as the point of bullet entry and exit. Although we are not magicians, we will do our best. The investigation will be like that of a collapsed building. We will reconstruct the crime scene like a collapsed building and put clues together.”
While commiserating with the family, Ezike urged them to come forward with any information they have as regards the case.
“I want you all to provide me with all information you have, nothing is useless. Even if it is a mere gossip, tell me about it,” he said.
Ezike embraced the mother of the deceased and told her to look up to God for strength.
One of the family members, who introduced himself as the chairman at Ugochukwu’s wedding reception, Mr. Uwamai Igein, said police needed to improve their image and be more people- friendly.
Nkechi told Ezike after the meeting that he should start by unravelling the mystery behind the disappearance of the statement from the Anthony Division written by the eyewitness, Irikefe Omene, who was with the deceased when he was killed.
While speaking on the sidelines, the deceased’s wife, Joan, said she still blamed the police because of their refusal to rush her husband to hospital.
“When I arrived the scene, Ugochukwu (Ozuah) was not dead. The Divisional Police Officer and his men were there looking at him and refused to help him. We were the ones that rushed him to the hospital while Omene went to write a statement.
“The DPO is now claiming no statement was written. How then did the police get Omene’s address when they wanted to arrest him?”