Group, rights lawyer call for probe of Isoko activist’s death in police custody
A group, Isoko Monitoring Group (IMG) and a human rights lawyer, Rockson Igelige, have called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to urgely investigate what they described as “extrajudicial killing” of a frontline Isoko activist, Comrade Anthony Ogbalor aka Dracula.
According to media reports, he took ill in detention and was rushed to an undisclosed hospital, where he allegedly died.
However, the IMG, in a statement by its president, Agbefe Sebastine, said: “Our attention has been drawn to the death of Chief Anthony Ogbalor, a former president of Isoko youths, from injuries sustained from gunshots and torture from the police.
“The general public will recall that he was recently paraded by the Delta State Command of the Nigeria Police Force for allegedly being involved in armed robberies, operating a kidnap syndicate and being behind the killing of the Area Commander of the Ughelli Area Command of the Nigeria Police Force.”
“The general public will recall that we had earlier warned against possible extra-judicial killing of Comrade Ogbalor. Our worst fears then have been confirmed. It is obvious that something somewhere is wrong as this in our opinion is a premeditated and well-orchestrated murder of a Nigerian citizen by those who are paid to protect them.
“We therefore call on the Inspector-General of Police to investigate the incidents leading to his death. We also call for the immediate arrest of the officers involved in his arrest, torture and death for prosecution. We demand that an autopsy be carried out on his corpse to determine the immediate and remote cause of death.
“IMG will frown against any attempt to intimidate the family of Chief Ogbalor from seeking justice in this brazen extra-judicial murder. IMG also wants to use this opportunity to advise everyone not to take laws into their hands and allow the law to take its full course.
Igelige said that there was “suspected foul play over the unusual death of Dracula” and demanded a thorough investigation into the matter.
His words: “The news of Dracula’s death while in detention is shocking and most suspicious. This is a clear case of extrajudicial killing and it must not be taken loosely. Every accused man has a mandatory right to fair hearing in a court of competent jurisdiction. The police failed in this regard.
“If someone arrested had confessed another, the new suspect should be given his right to fair hearing, not to be brutalised and murdered illegally. There is every reason to think that something is fishy behind the scene. Dracula must have died out of excessive beating or even through poison while in detention and as long as no law court pronounced him guilty of what he was accused of, the IGP has a duty to ensure that justice is done to the deceased.
“The policemen that arrested Dracula, the IPO of the case and the DPO in charge of the police station he was first arrested to as long as the Commissioner of Police in Delta State including the former that hurriedly paraded Dracula before the press should be investigated immediately. The IG needs to be sure who they were talking with before, during and after the arrest of Dracula. This case must be treated seriously to restore public confidence in the police as it is currently being rumoured that the police must have connived with the enemies of the deceased to kill him.”
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