The death of a 16-yearold boy, Kelechi Ineke of Abaomege, Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, has continued to generate indignation in the community. Ineke was alleged to have had issues with the son of Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Abaomege police station in the area and he was arrested and detained.
Ineke allegedly had a fight with the DPO’s son identified simply as Umet after which he was accused of cultism, assault and threat to life by the police and was arrested. The boy was the son of the traditional ruler of Abaomege community, His Royal Highness, Eze Gabriel Ineke.
Angry youths in the area burnt down a house at the back of the police station where some policemen are living. The youth also vandalised the Abaomege Police Station after burning down the house. Policemen on duty reportedly scampered for safety when the youth invaded the station.
The incident occurred on Easter Sunday. Ineke’s relatives had gone to the station to secure his bail but the DPO allegedly denied him bail on the grounds that his case was a serious one. Three days later, one of Ineke’s relative came to the station to see him only to be told that he had died.
He reported the matter to some elders in the village and the youth quickly mobilised and attacked the police station. Sources from the community alleged that Ineke was tortured to death by policemen on duty in the station as according to them, he was hale and hearty before his arrest.
The deceased’s brother, Prince Nnamdi Ineke, said his brother was said to have fought with a policeman’s son of the same age. The policeman’s son left the scene of the fight only to come back with his father who is a police officer serving in Abaomege to arrest the prince.
He stated that his brother was arrested with no option of bail and locked up without being interrogated. “When we, the family members, got there, they said we should return the next day; they refused to allow us see, feed or bail him. The next day they also did not allow us to see, bail or give him food. Three days of his being in custody he was not allowed to see his siblings or receive food or water from them.
We were asked on the fourth day to come the next day with N10,000 bailout fee,” Nnamdi alleged But the state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Loveth Odah, who confirmed the incident to our correspondent, absolved the police of any wrongdoing in Ineke’s death.
She noted that Ineke used a rope from his boxers (shorts) and hanged himself on the cell door which resulted in his death. Odah said: “Around 3:40pm of 1st April, 2018 a Sergeant on Duty (Admin Officer) visited the cell and found out that one suspect, Kelechi Ineke, detained for a case of cultism, assault and threatening violence according to the DPO, had committed suicide. “He used a rope from his boxers to tie himself and hanged it on a cell door.
One of his family members came to the police station and found out what happened, the youth mobilised and came and attacked the police station. “They burnt a house at the back of the police station which may be where some policemen working in the station are living. The main building which is the police station was destroyed, vandalised.
I think it is not a good approach when things like this happen. “We have not got the real thing that happened. The body of the deceased has been evacuated to mortuary. The matter is being investigated. I learnt that the youths’ annoyance is that the deceased was denied bail. They said there was an approach for him to be bailed and the DPO said cultism is a serious offence and he couldn’t grant him bail.
“Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police has decided to query the DP0 over the matter, maybe he was not professional in treating the matter because if someone has committed suicide, I think the first place to report it is the headquarters not to civilians,” she said. Following the incident, the state House of Assembly has unanimously risen against the death of Prince Ineke.
This followed the motion under matters of urgent public importance moved by the Deputy Speaker,Chief Odefa Obasi Odefa, representing Onicha East State Constituency. Odefa said the development threatened the peace and security of the area if not for the timely intervention of the leaders of the constituency.
He said the body of the deceased had been deposited in the mortuary and prayed the House to prevail on the police to expedite action and bring the perpetrators to book. Valentine Okike representing Onicha West constituency seconded the motion. He narrated an experience at the state headquarters of the police command where he spotted a police officer torturing a suspect with a machete.
Okike thus joined the mover of the motion to pray the House to mandate the relevant authorities to investigate the matter to douse the tension among the youth of the area. The Speaker of the House who was visibly embittered by the unfortunate incident wondered why a police officer would resort to such act, describing the development as an embarrassment to the security agencies.
He mandated the House committees on security and judiciary to visit the state commissioner of police, Titus Lamorde, and report back to the House within one week with their findings. There is still tension in the area as at the time of filing this report while policemen have been massively deployed in the community to prevent further breakdown of law and order