A suspect who allegedly died in police custody was killed to cover up a secret, his family has claimed, and has therefore petitioned President Goodluck Jonathan for an autopsy order to confirm how he died.
“Chukwuma was killed to cover up a secret, which could have been unveiled if he was allowed to talk,” the family of late Chukwuma Ihezie said in a statement signed by Chinedu Ihezie on behalf of the family.
Reports have it that Chukwuma died in detention six days after he was arrested by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, Enugu State Police Command.
According to the petition by the deceased’s family; “On January 12, Chukwuma went for his normal cab work and was arrested by Independence Layout, Enugu policemen for picking a passenger whom the police falsely labelled an armed robber.
“He was kept under detention in their station under a DPO (names withheld). He was later transferred to Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, office by Zakari Yau, along with his handwritten statement. On January 18, Chukwuma was shot on the spinal cord and killed by SARS without a fair hearing in any court of law and his corpse dumped in UNTH, Ituku Ozala, Enugu, mortuary on Saturday, January 18.
Chukuma, an engineering graduate was accused by the police to be an armed robbery suspect. Investigation however later showed that the deceased was innocent.
The family’s spokesperson, Mr. Chinedu Ihezie, said that the police had released their son’s car, laptop and other personal effects, and had asked them to go and bury their dead. He however said the family would be unable to bury their dead son until the Enugu State Police Command agree to its request for autopsy.
The Enugu State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ebere Amaraizu could not confirm the incident, as he said he was not aware.
The family has therefore in the letter addressed to President Jonathan, copied to the Senate President, David Mark; Mathew Omegara, representing Okigwe North federal constituency, House of Representatives; Chairman, Police Service Commission; the Inspector-General of Police, the Commissioner of Police, Enugu State Command; and the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, Abuja, called for justice.
“Our heart is bleeding, our hope is in God Almighty through you. The future hope and light of the family has been so extinguished. We humbly cry unto you sir,” the family said, and also requested the conduct of a genuine post-mortem examination on Chukwuma’s corpse and release of his corpse for burial.
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