Ikwunado family tackle police over death of suspect in custody

Nigeria Police
Nigeria Police

There is a twist to the alleged extrajudicial murder of one Chima Ikwunado, a mechanic at the popular Ikokwu mechanic workshop in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

While Anthony Ikwunado, brother to the late Chima, insisted that his 38-year-old brother was hale and hearty before he was arrested by the police, the Rivers State Police Command claimed that autopsy report revealed that the deceased had high sugar level.

This is as the Nigerian Bar Association in the state called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of those involved in the alleged torture and extrajudicial killing of Chima inside the Mile 1 Eagle Crack Division.

Speaking with our correspondent on Friday, Ikwunado described the claim that his brother had high sugar level as false, adding that he was not suffering from any illness.

Anthony explained that the family learnt from reliable sources that he was tied to the roof for three hours and died on December 23, 2019, four days after he was arrested.

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He said, “The police are saying that he died of high sugar level; but that is not true. He was hale and hearty before he was arrested.”

Calling for the arrest and prosecution of those who killed his younger brother, Anthony said it was wrong for the police to torture Chima, when the owner of the car had insisted that his vehicle was not missing.

He stated, “The man (owner of the car) had been Chima’s customer for four years. The vehicle owner went to the police station and they (policemen) threatened him and told him that he ought to have praised them for recovering his stolen vehicle.

“But the man told the policemen that his vehicle was not stolen and that Chima was the mechanic that had been repairing his cars. It was when they threatened to kill the car owner that he brought in his friend, an Air Force officer. It was his friend that helped the man to bring out the car.

“After the car was released, the police then dropped the armed robbery allegation against Chima and framed him with cultism. He just got married and his wife is pregnant, He was 38-year-old.”

Earlier in a statement, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, said investigation revealed that Chima took ill and died in police cell.

The statement read in part, “Information at my disposal as relayed to me by the Commander, Eagle Crack, SP Benson Adetuyi, is that last year, they arrested some suspects in connection with a case of armed robbery and cultism, whereupon they were interrogated and subsequently detained, while continuing with their investigation.

“However, in the course of investigation, one of the suspects identified as Chima Ikwunado took ill and died in the cell. Autopsy report revealed that he died of high sugar level. His remains are still in the mortuary.

“The CP has ordered investigation into the matter with a view to unravelling the circumstances of his death and bringing about justice in the circumstance.”

But the state NBA Chairman, Sylvester Adaka, urged the family of the victim to petition relevant authorities over the matter.

“Those involved in the extra-judicial murder of the man should be prosecuted. They should be brought to book. The truth is that the police hierarchy needs to look inwards. It (extrajudicial killing) is getting worse.

“The truth is that discipline in the police is waning every day. That is the reason why there is no longer respect for human life. They just pick up the gun and shoot and they no longer respect lawyers,” Adaka said.

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