For driving against traffic, a mechanic detained by the police in Rivers State died in custody in December, 2019 while his corpse was yet to be released to the family.
Wife of the deceased Port Harcourt-base mechanic, Chima Ikwunado, Mrs Adugo Ikwunado has called on the Rivers State Police Command to produce the corpse of her late husband allegedly in police custody.
Chima was allegedly tortured to death by Eagle Crack team, the anti-crime police squad attached to the Mile One Police station, Port Harcourt.
Ikwunado was arrested alongside four of his apprentices in December 2019 by the E-crack commanded by a Superintendent of Police, Benson Adetuyi for driving against traffic.
The suspect was taken to Mile One Police Station where he was allegedly tortured to death.
A relation of the deceased simply identified as John told Daily Trust Saturday that the E-Crack team tortured Chima while four other of his apprentices of his sustained various degrees of injuries during interrogation. Since his death the remains of the decease has been in police custody.
The circumstances surrounding the death have been a subject of controversy. While the family insists he was tortured to death, Rivers State Police Command through its Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni said that the deceased died as a result of high sugar level.
At a world press conference organised by the coalition of civil society, the deceased’s wife faulted the allegation by the police that her late husband died of high level of sugar, saying that before they got married last year she and the late husband carried out HIV, sugar level and some other tests to ascertain their health statues.
On whether the late husband was a cult member as alleged by the Police, pregnant Adugo responded in the contrary. “I knew my husband two months before we married. He was not a bad person. He did not have bad friends. He has never stayed out late since we got married.”
President of the Rivers Civil Society Organization in Rivers State, Comrade Enefaa Georgewill at the world press conference called on the National Assembly not to allow the death of late Chima be swept under the carpet without proper investigation as there are too many torture chambers in the state.
He called on the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike to wade into the matter and direct the Attorney General of the state to facilitate the release of four other persons in custody to enable them access medical care.
“The governor should also direct the Attorney General to call for an inquest into the circumstances that led to the death of Chima Ikwunado,” Georgewill said.
The group expressed fear that if nothing was done urgently to release the remaining four mechanics still in detention, they may die because of various degrees of injuries they sustained from the torture.
In the same vein, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Rivers state has called on the relevant authorities to ensure that justice was served for the gruesome murder of late Chima and ensure that the four boys in police cell were released without further delay.
Spokesman of Ohanaeze in the state, Maxi Felix Onwuma said at its meeting, pleaded with the deceased colleagues at Ikokwu market to refrain from further protests on the matter. “We want justice to be done for the late Chima and the four boys in prison custody. If in the coming week these four boys are not released, then we will call for a sit-at-home protest,” he said.
The protests almost turning violent but for the timely intervention of the Mile One police. One of the agitated protesters, Emeka Osuji, said the essence of the protest was to demand justice for their colleague and the release of their four other colleagues held in police detention since December 20, 2019.
“We are not happy. Our stance is for the police to release Chima’s corpse to the family or us, and release the four boys in their custody. This is not fair,” he said.
Osuji also alleged the police were being economical with the truth about Chima’s death. He maintained that late Chima had no health challenge, let alone excessive sugar in the blood, as being told by the Police.
Another mechanic, Kelechi Onyekwere, said they were not resting on their oars until justice prevails. “No matter what the police will do, we will continue to protest until those policemen, who tortured Chima to death, are brought to book and our other boys released,” Onyekwere declared.
Rivers State Police Command Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni said Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura, has ordered full-scale investigation into the activities of the E-Crack and the circumstances surrounding the death of Chima.
Omoni said the investigation was ordered into the matter with a view to unraveling the circumstances surrounding the death and to bring about Justice.