The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Bayelsa state has advocated for domestication of the witness protection policy under the Nigerian law, declaring that its involvement in the trial and conviction of the police sergeant that killed a 19 year old undergraduate Tarila Nikade a deterrent against police brutality.
The Bayelsa state secretary of the NBA and chief prosecutor of the disgrace police sergeant, Ms. Ebiere Emmanuela Ekpese, said the case from inception to conclusion and eventual conviction would help to rein in police brutality.
The NBA, Sagbama chapter had in 2019 through its human rights committee took up the case of extra judicial killing against a police sergeant attached to the Akenfa Police Division, Timadi Emmanuel for killing, in the cold blooded murder of a 19 years old undergraduate of the state owned University, Niger Delta University (NDU).
The case was handed to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution with five witnesses called including a medical doctor despite the alleged threats from some unidentified colleagues of the police officer.
The killer police sergeant was subsequently arrested, dismissed from the oolice force after an orderly room trial and arraigned before Justice Maltida Ayemieye.
Ayemieye had recently in her judgment agreed with the prosecution that Emmanuel killed Nikade in cold blood and sentenced him to death by hanging.
Ekpese, who is also the secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Sagbama branch and the prosecutor of the case that lasted two years, argued that the conviction would help to rein in police brutality.
According to Ekpese, “It was victory for everyone because not too long ago, there was the EndSARS protest against police brutality. For me, this case is like a deterrence to other police officers that take laws into their hands. That you are a policeman does not give you right to fire and shoot.
“For God’s sake, the deceased was not even found with anything.”
“It is a form of victory, even though I don’t like to use that word, for the Ministry of Justice and NBA Sagbama because this is one thing we are also fighting as a branch through our Human Rights Committee. We are strongly against some of these things.
“Aside this matter that I prosecuted, I am aware of one or two cases of police brutality, the branch is handling. But this case (State V Timadi) was not one of them”.
Ekpese also advocated for witness protection policy in Nigeria as obtained in other countries of the world to ensure witnesses are not vulnerable to threats and pave way for successful prosecution of capital offences.
On issue of the decision of the State Ministry of Justice to deny application for Fiat to prosecute the case, Ekpese stressed that application of fiat does not mean automatic approval but at the discretion of the State Attorney- General, who by the provisions of the constitution is empower to take over any case.