Senate probes reinstatement of police officer indicted in Apo killing

Members of the Nigerian Senate at a plenary

• Reps ask army to drop local language policy
The Senate yesterday resolved to investigate the recent reinstatement of a deputy police commissioner, Mr. Danjuma Ibrahim, who was indicted by a judicial panel of inquiry that probed the killing of five Igbo traders and a young lady in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in 2005.

The panel was set up by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The Senate took the decision after adopting a point of order raised by Sonni Ogbuoji (PDP, Ebonyi South). He drew the attention of the chamber to the reinstatement of the earlier suspended police officer who was acquitted in March this year by the FCT High Court judge, Ishaq Bello.

Ogbuoji expressed serious concerns that the same court sentenced two police officers who operated under the directive of Ibrahim to kill the young traders but acquitted their master.

He urged the senate to look into the case, saying it was worrisome that the Police Service Commission (PSC) exonerated and reinstated the leader of the team that actually committed the murder while his subordinates were severely punished.

He said: “It was an incident that led to the death of six young people, five of them males and one a female at a police checkpoint. The then President Obasanjo set up a judicial panel of inquiry because the police report was unacceptable to him when they insisted that those young people were armed robbers. And in the judicial panel of inquiry, some police officers were found to have killed these young people.

“So, they were taken to court by the state. The commander of that particular police unit, one Danjuma Ibrahim, as we speak today, has been reinstated by the police. Also, one of them, Othman Abdulsalami, till today is still at large. But the court on the 12th of last month sentenced two of the policemen to death for murder.

“One is worried that the commander of the patrol unit that killed what is now known as Apo six has been reinstated by the police whereas the police have found others who were under his command culpable.”

The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, asked Ogbuoji to bring a formal petition on the matter so that it would be referred to the committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has enjoined the Nigeria Army to stop the implementation of the policy seeking to compel its personnel who are non- speakers of the three major Nigerian languages, Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo, to learn them within the next one year.

Adopting a motion jointly sponsored by Abiante Awaji-Inombek Dagomie and Douye Diri during plenary session presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Sulaimon Yussuff Lasun, the lawmakers described the policy as discriminatory and inimical to the cohesion in the army.

The House urged on the army to continue with the practice of communicating in English language since it has been one of the cardinal points of convergence for the security organisation.

The lawmakers also mandated the Committee on Army to interface with the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai on the policy with a view to stopping it and report back in four weeks for further legislative action.

Dagomie (Andoni: Rivers) while leading debate on the motion argued that the local language policy infringed on the fundamental rights of the minorities who must not be foisted with the linguistic and cultural hegemonies of major languages.



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