One Year After, No Justice for Murdered Geology Graduate In Badagry
By Wisdom Patrick, Lagos
One year after, Justice is yet to come the way of the deceased family. Apart from one suspect caught few days after the incident through the effort of the victim’s father, Police have not been able to arrest any other person in connection with the crime.
Though the State Commissioner (CP) Umar Manko, had promised that Justice would be done on the matter, but as things stand now, justice seem to be delayed in this regard and might probably be denied.
This is more worrisome, especially since one suspect and two Policemen who were earlier in detention have been allegedly released.
It would be recalled that Ifechukwude Nwainokpor-Gabriel, a graduate of Geology and Mining from the Delta State University, Abraka, Delta State, was recently killed in a mob action that was allegedly supervised by the police in Badagry.
According to his Aunt, Rose Dafe, in a chat with Political Economist, before his untimely death, plans were already in top-gear to get him a job with one of the oil companies as he had desired.
Describing the deceased as a quiet boy who only spoke when spoken to, she lamented that the community where he had grown up had launched jungle justice on him, snuffing life out of the promising young lad.
She said she never envisaged in her wildest imagination that such an act would happen noting that he had called her earlier two days before his death and they had chatted in their usual ways.
However, those dreams died with him on Sunday, July 21, 2013. Since then, neither the Police nor his parents could figure out what really happened. When he was clubbed to death alongside one Kazeem, in the full glare of policemen attached to the Badagry Police Division, neighbours said three Policemen allegedly supervised his killing.
In a video which went viral especially on YouTube, the duo were handcuffed together and mercilessly pummeled with heavy clubs till they breathed their last.
Although Nwainokpor pleaded for his life, stressing that he was born and bred in Badagry, his pleas fell on deaf ears. He was heard in the video shouting that his father was a former immigration officer popularly known as Africa.
He had almost given up hope until he saw about four police vans arrive the scene. His joy was cut short however when the policemen instead of rescuing them, rather stood akimbo and supervised their death.
For the father of the deceased, Mr. Samuel Nwainokpor-Gabriel, the death of his son was a major blow.
On what transpired the day his son was killed in cold blood, he said, “I was in Ghana where I now reside when I got a call that my wife was sick. I rushed back to Badagry immediately only to see a large crowd in my house. It was later I was told my son was dead.
“It never occurred to me that my son was the reason why people came to my house to sympathise with me. All along, I thought it was because my wife was allegedly sick. It was my caretaker that finally told me my son was dead.
“I was devastated and confused but when I finally calmed down, I was told that my son was accused of armed robbery. They had gone to visit a friend at the Ajara area when the youths surrounded them.
“I got my son a temporary job with a Customs licensed agent while he waited for his dream job to come. He worked everyday except on Sundays when he visited his friends. So that day, while visiting friends, the youths saw two strange faces and accosted them.
“They were accused of being the ones that came to rob the community days back. Attempts by my son to plead his innocence fell on deaf ears. The youths went to call the head of the vigilante group, Asiribo.”
He continued, “Asiribo who was in church went home and collected his pistol and called his Policeman friend to bring him handcuff and came to where the young boys were. He handcuffed them together and as he bent to put the gun in his pouch, it went off.
“The bullet tore his stomach and he died on the spot. It is his death that enraged the youths. They now pounced on my son and clubbed them to death. Even when the Baale, Agano Oniyon of Agamade Ajara, was allegedly contacted, he said he does not behold blood.
“But why didn’t he tell his subjects to stop, rather he let them carry out jungle justice on those two young boys. My second son slumped and was in coma for two days after seeing the video of how his elder brother was killed.
“My brother got the video clips together and we went to the police station with it but the DPO, CSP Mohammed Dankoli, said they were robbers until we showed him the video. But by then, the families of the dead vigilante man had taken his corpse as well as Kazeem’s family but they refused to release ours.”
Samuel added that first, the police had planted two pistols with the dead boys but later when the matter was transferred to Area K Police Command, only one pistol was seen and even at that, it wasn’t the same pistol that was brought out before.
He said the most painful aspect was that policemen watched while his son was clubbed to death. He said, “Also, they planted guns on them, labeled them armed robbers and took their corpses to Badagry General Hospital mortuary.
“But I know my son, he cannot steal. His is my first son. I have two sons. Ify was just not the kind of person that would steal. He didn’t have it in him. I have been living in Badagry since 1982 and I have lived in this area without any trouble and the residents can tell you that my sons are good boys.
“He was generous to a fault. He doesn’t fight. He was friendly although quiet. You see, he was the kind of person that always wanted to help people in need. If he sees such persons, he would give what he has and then come back to his mum to ask for another.
“How can that kind of person steal. He was not an aggressive or volatile person. We want justice and we will pursue this case to its logical end.”
When asked if the people would also pursue financial compensation from the police, he said the most important line of action now would be seeking justice, adding that their lawyer would later determine if compensation would be sought.
Meanwhile, he said one of the deceased’s friends saw one of the faces in the video and trailed him to his house. “When they called me to tell me, I told them to alert the DPO who had earlier promised that we should alert him if we see any of the culprits.
“Surprisingly, when he was alerted, his reaction was disappointing. He warned the boys to mind their business and let the police do their job. He didn’t know the boys made the call before us. So we now called him back before he now arrested the said culprit.
“In fact, we had to take the matter to the police headquarters when the DPO’s attitude did not improve. We showed the video to the DC Admin who was shocked at what he saw. It was after that the police swung into action and policemen from the State Criminal and Investigation Department (SCID), Panti, began investigation”
He commended the Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, for speedily ordering investigation into the heinous act, justice might very well be underway for the parents and family of the deceased.
When contacted on the matter, Manko said when got the information he had immediately ordered the arrest of policemen spotted in video, adding that he had also personally taken over investigation to ensure a thorough job is done.
While admitting that he is personally heading investigations, he however blamed the DPO of Badagry police station, Mohammed Dankoli for tagging the late school boys armed robbers.
At the orders of the CP, the policemen who were spotted in the video clip were last Friday arrested alongside the Baale and the vigilante’s son.
He said, “The DPO did not present the matter to us the way it happened. When we started asking questions, we discovered that the two people who were killed were not armed robbers as alleged contrary to what the DPO told us.
“Also when we saw the video clips and watched the way those boys were killed, we told ourselves that we would be failing in our duties if we fail to bring everyone involved to justice.”
He added, “I was not satisfied with the snail pace approach of the matter by the SCID and ordered transfer of the matter to my office and the DPO Maroko, who is an upright man to superintend the trial of all civilians and policemen fingered in the matter.”
“The DPO and his team would be supervised by me and we would ensure that people do not take laws into their hands next time. No one has the right to take the life of another. We have one suspect in custody already and we will get others. I will not tolerate impunity by anyone.”
As regards the DPO, Manko said he would face administrative disciplinary action, adding that under his watch, policemen would not be allowed to take laws into their hands.