A lawyer and human rights activist in Delta State, Mr Oghenejabor Ikimi, has called on the Delta State Police Command to carry out an independent and impartial investigation into alleged extra-judicial and premeditated murder of one Mr Anthony Otu by the Divisional Police Officer, Out-Jeremi and his men.

Ikimi in a petition addressed to the Delta State Police Commissioner, Hafiz Mohammed Inuwa, said late Mr Anthony Otu, aged 35 years and a father of four children with a heavily pregnant wife was the Social Welfare Secretary of the Egbo-Uhurie community Executive Committee in Ughelli South Local Government Area.

He said: “On Sunday, the 7th day of June, 2020 at about 10:00pm four armed robbers were apprehended in action with arms by the Egbo-Uhurie vigilante group with the assistance of the late Mr Anthony Otu.

“It is our brief that immediately the aforesaid armed robbers were apprehended, a phone call was put through by the Egbo-Uhurie Community President General to the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Otu-Jeremi who dispatched a team of Policemen to fetch the said robbers and their arms. The late Mr Anthony Otu and the Chairman of the Egbo-Uhurie Community vigilantee group were mandated by the said President General to accompany the Policemen to the Nigeria Police Station, Otu-Jeremi with the said suspects, so as to avail the Police with their respective statements.

“It is our further brief that on Tuesday, the 9th day of June, 2020 at about 7:00 am or thereabout, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Otu-Jeremi invited the above duo of the late Mr Anthony Otu and the Chairman of the Egbo-Uhurie community vigilante group to the Otu-Jeremi through the President General Police Station for the purpose of accompanying the above suspects to the office of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Asaba to make their statements to the Police. A journey the late Mr Anthony Otu reluctantly embarked upon,” said Ikimi.

Ikimi stated further that: “At about 7:00 pm same day our client, Mr Prince Otu received a phone call from one Inspector Ibru via phone number 08137097355 to the effect that the Police hilux van they were travelling to Asaba with the four suspects and six others including the late Mr Anthony Otu had an accident after Ossissa Village and that the latter was in a critical condition at the General Hospital, Ogwashi-Uku and that our client should send him some money for his treatment. The sum of N25,000.00 (Twenty-five Thousand Naira) was sent by our client reluntantly to the said Inspr. Ibru vide mobile money transfer. All our client’s enquiries were rebuffed by Inspr. Ibru.

“It is our brief that at about 6:00am the next day Wednesday the 10th of June, 2020 the said Inspr. Ibru again called our client, Mr Prince Otu on phone demanding for the sum of N36,000.00 (Thirty-six Thousand Naira) to enable the Police to transfer the deceased to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin for further treatment. Our client rebuffed the above request and demanded to see the late Anthony Otu, his elder brother who unknown to him and our clients that the said deceased had passed on the previous night at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba.

“It is our brief that while our clients were preparing to visit the General Hospital, Ogwashi-Uku the next day to ascertain the state of health of the deceased, one Chuks called our client, Mr Prince Otu, on phone with phone number: 08034409606 at about 9:00pm and introduced himself to our client as the DPO, Otu-Jeremi and in the process broke the news of the death of late Mr. Anthony Otu to him and further demanded to see members of the Otu Family in his office the next day at 2:30 pm to the effect that “what had happened had happened”. Our clients and the entire Otu Family were no doubt thrown into mourning. Till date, neither the Police nor the Egbo-Uhurie Community had paid the Otu Family a condolence visit.

“It is our brief that prior to the above phone call, Inspr. Ibru who drove the Police Hilux van had at about 6:00 pm same day called our client, Mr Prince Otu and informed him that on the fateful day, he drove the Police Hilux Van which included the DPO, Otu-Jeremi and a female Policewoman all seated in the cabin, while the four suspects, the deceased, the Egbo-Uhurie Community vigilante Chairman and one armed Policeman named Chuks were all seated at the back of the uncovered Police Hilux Van. The said Inspr. Ibru further informed our client that as soon as they drove passed Ossissa Village, a bamboo tree hit the deceased on the head where he and others including the suspects were seated and in the process, the deceased fell from the said Hilux van bleeding all over his body. When our client enquired further why the deceased who was a vital Police witness would be allowed to travel with the suspects he had apprehended in an uncovered Police Hilux van, the said Inspr. Ibru claimed that same was the decision of the DPO, Otu-Jeremi even though the deceased never liked the idea,” Ikimi stated.

The human rights activist said that: “When the above conversation which was recorded by our client with his phone was replayed to the members of the Otu Family, our clients and the Otu Family came to the irresistible conclusion that the deceased was extra judicially and/or premeditatedly murdered in cold blood by the DPO, Otu-Jeremi and his men for no just cause as our clients and the Otu Family could not comprehend why the deceased who was a potential Police witness could be ferried unprotected and carelessly in the back of an uncovered Police Hilux van with the same suspects he had arrested onlyto be murdered in cold blood on the way to Asaba. What could the DPO, Otu-Jeremi and his Men be hiding?”

Ikimi, therefore, demanded from the police authorities to carry out an unbiased independent and a thorough investigation into the alleged extra judicial or premeditated murder of the late Mr Anthony Otu, as justice delayed is justice denied.