The Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) has again threatened a showdown and possible legal action against the the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and the police hierarchy over their continuous silence in the brutal killing of seven serving policemen from the Bayelsa State Police Command.
The CLO, said as a human right civil society organizations, the body just like other public spirited individual is interested, for the general good of all; in knowing the circumstances leading to the killing of the seven serving policemen.
Addressing a press conference in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, the State Chairman of CLO, Nengi James-Eriworio and civil rights activist, Morris Alagoa, said seeing photos of the policemen lifeless bodies riddled with bullets and rifles placed on them presents an unnatural situation, and should be investigated.
It would be recalled that seven policemen, made up of sergeants and corporal attached to the Bayelsa Police Command were two weeks ago allegedly shot dead in Ughelli by some men of the Federal Anti Robbery Squad (FSARS) over reported involvement in armed robbery.
While some persons claimed they were shot dead by some members of the Federal SARS during an alleges arm robbery operation, others claimed they were caught in a heavy gun sale deal which went awry and were executed.
The pictures taken from the scene of the crime showed that the deceased officers were lined up in an executioner form and shot dead with their uniforms and official rifles hanging on their shoulder.
But CLO who had earlier raised an alarm over the silence of the police authorities last week, equally called on President Mohammandu Buhari, the Senate House Committee on Human rights, the Amnesty International, right groups and the media, not to allow the matter to be swept under the carpet.
Nengi said, “You will agree that Nigeria is going through serious security crisis before the raging coronavirus pandemic. In view of the current unprecedented security challenges facing Nigerians, it gives much more concern when uniformed personnel, in this case, Policemen are gunned down by fellow police men in circumstances that have been shrouded by silence from the police authorities.
“Without making references to other continental and global instruments on Human Rights, the CLO draws ample strength from Chapter 4 if the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended. The chapter of the Constitution deals with Fundamental Human Rights and, the right to life was recognised as Number One. Close to the right to life, in the same chapter; is the right to fair hearing. And herein lies the crux of our gathering here.
The CLO is interested, for the general good of all; in knowing the circumstances leading to the killing of 7 serving policemen. Seeing photos of their lifeless bodies with rifles placed on them presents an unnatural situation.
“Although the leadership of the CLO had earlier made related Press statement about the ugly incident and called on the Inspector General of Police set up an investigative team to unravel the what really happened; we want to once again express our unacceptability of extra-judicial killings.
“Was there an exchange of gunfire? If yes, at what location or environment? At what hour of the day or night and were there no options like immobilising the car they were traveling with?
“Who are the accomplices if these victims of police bullet were alleged criminals? Even if they were criminals, does it profit society when such alleged criminals are killed without proper investigation and accorded fair hearing?
“The above and more remains mind burgling. And that is why, the the questions requiring answers and in the common interest; CLO is hereby calling on the Inspector General of Police to do the needful.
“While we hope the high command of the police will do what is expected; we want to also say Mr President should be aware that, as head of the Executive and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; this matter ought not to be swept under the carpet.
“The Senate and House Committees on Human Rights, the National Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International and Right groups and the media should play theirs traditional roles on this matter
“It is our basic concern as an organisation that is concerned with human rights activism. We are using our strategy and tracking system in getting information and that does not mean we will abuse the office of the security.
“After this press conference, we will now have some steps, even legal steps. We have been following the matter carefully. First we didn’t have their names, now we have their names.
“With their names now, we can now reach out to our legal colleagues. CLO has several lawyers and we are set to pursue this matter legally and other human rights group will start from here because it is a national issue.”
CLO gave out the names of six of the seven dead policeman as Hitler Mumbo, Dieyete Joweigha and Brown Abedinigo, all sergeants. Others include Omoro Akpoe, Philip Seikpo, Oyanidine Ongogha, all police corporals.
“These are Nigeria Police officers, they have families.The situation is worrisome. We have never seen police execute five armed robbers the same time and now we are having a case of killing seven policemen.
We are even suspecting that they were killed somewhere and dumped at Ughelli in Delta State. Since the police authorities are mute over the issue, we are now suspecting the authorities that there is something they are concealing that they don’t want people to know.
“For about three weeks now, seven police officers were killed and they are not talking. Something is actually fishy. Are you afraid that some of the police officers are used as snipers or they are criminals. Even if they are criminals, it should be proved in the court”, CLO insisted.
Also speaking, Alogoa, said, “Family members have met with the CLO, that is why we are concerned. The Bayelsa State Police Command which is the primary location or the duty post where those policemen where serving before they met their untimely deaths have not even spoken. We expect that the state police command ought to have come out with a statement on why they were killed.”