‘How my husband was killed by soldiers’
She said trouble started for her husband when suspected armed robbers terrorising the community were allegedly caught with two guns and allegedly handed over to soldiers.
She was accompanied by family members and friends who brought their protest to Benin City. They said that their planned protest in Oghara on Tuesday was forcefully dispersed by soldiers and they decided to come and protest in Benin City.
She said before her husband’s death, her son Stephen was arrested by the army and taken to Koko where he was detained for eight days and later transferred to Asaba Police Command claiming that one 18-year-old boy confessed against the late Ogedengbe and his son.
She said on the day of the shooting, June 23, 2015: “My husband was the games master of his school and he told me he was going to the school to sign and I decided to go and see my children staying in my mother’s place. I was on my bike when I saw an army van trailing my husband’s vehicle and I quickly took my bike after them. They drove through the whole of Oghara and got to a point where my husband stopped, came down from the car and held up his hand but when the soldiers came down, they said “the CO wants you dead.”
“I appealed to them that they should spare his life, but they shot my husband immediately and ordered the boys moulding block in the area to put his body in their Hilux van. Immediately, I entered another bike and abandoned mine and followed them to the police station and then to the Teaching Hospital where they called doctors to take care of my husband and as soon as he was pronounced dead, the soldiers ran away.”
“I want the federal government to ask the soldiers what my husband did that he was killed. Yesterday, I said let us protest so that government will hear us and help us fight for justice and everything we wanted to use, banners and others, this Captain on his own with five Hilux vans stopped us and threatened that nobody should come out. They arrested four of us and beat us, as I am talking to you, one of them is still in the hospital. He said my husband was not giving him peace in Oghara. I want justice from the government.”
But when contacted through a text message, the Public Relations Officer 4 Mechanised Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Benin City Capt Umuakhalu JE said, “investigation is ongoing into the allegation and our findings will surely be made known. Both the Army and police are conducting independent investigation into all allegations. NA (Nigerian Army) did not torture any protester but dispossessed them of dangerous substances such as kerosene and petrol which they were going to use for the protest.”
Stephen, the first son of the late Ogedegbe, corroborated his mother’s account, saying that before his father’s death, he was arrested and taken to the military base where he was regularly tortured under the supervision of a Lt. Colonel who he said claimed that he would kill his father.
On their parts, the Ovie of Oghara, HRM Ogharanamen Orefe III and the Oghara Centre for Justice and Development have called on President Muhammadu Buhari and all concerned authorities to investigate the alleged killing of Ogedegbe.
The Ovie in a press statement personally signed by him and made available to journalists in Benin City, further called on President Buhari to take decisive action in the fight against impunity of all sorts in order to engender the much needed change in the country.