EndSARS: It was an emotional scene yesterday at the sitting of the Edo State Judicial panel of Enquiry for victims of police brutality as 41-year-old Smart Odojie Ofagba narrated how his father who he said is a retired army officer, Samuel Udojie Ofagba, was allegedly murdered by a Divisional Police Officer simply identified as Aisabor in Usenu Irrua in Esan Central Local Government Area of Edo State on March 9, 1999.
Ofagba also told the panel that his uncle, Mr. Abhulimen Ofagba and his father’s labourer which he identified as Kingsley were also allegedly killed alongside his father by the same police officer.
He is demanding that the body of his late father be released to him for proper burial and compensation of N50m adding that the wife of his late uncle died apparently of the trauma from the development less than five months after.
Smart who said he was at that time 20 years old told the panel that Kingsley who works with his father in his farm was accosted by the said police officer when he was coming from a night burial and was taken to his father for identification which he said his father confirmed that Kingsley was his worker.
He said his father asked Mr. Kingsley what brought him to his house that early morning in his native language but was stopped by the policeman for conversing in his dialect instead of English language that everyone could understand.
“So, the police officer made an attempt to slap my late father but he quickly held his hand and that one argument further led to the other which eventually landed them at the police station”, he said.
Smart said, his father, uncle and Kingsley were kept behind the counter and were told to come and bail themselves with the sum of N40, 000 adding that they were only able to raise the sum of N 23,000 which the police allegedly rejected.
He said he was later told by the Investigative Police Officer to come back the following day to see the DPO since it was already late in the day only for them to hear that they have been shot dead and labelled “armed robbers” by the DPO.
He explained that the police claimed that they engaged them in a shootout with his men at Ewu junction, Irrua, and the police proceeded to produce a cut to size locally made barrel gun and 10 live cartridges alleged to have belonged to his late father and uncle.
He noted that to make the matter worse, their bodies were not released to the family for burial.
He prayed the panel to compel Mr. Aisabor to lead him to where his father was buried so that he could exhume him and give him a befitting burial.
He also asked for the prosecution of officers who were remotely involved in the killings of his father, uncle and his father’s labourer.
He further sought for a public apology from the Nigeria Police Force for defaming his father, uncle and his father’s labourer.
Chairman of the panel, Justice Ada Ehigiamusoe (rtd), upon listening to the petitioner, ordered that the said Aisabor be summoned before the panel.
“This is the collective view of the panel that the said police officer named in the petition, one Mr. Aisabor be summoned before this panel to answer to issues as contained in the petition”, Justice Ehigiamusoe said.