Activists in Akwa Ibom are up in arms against the police in the state over the controversial murder of two members of a community vigilante group who reportedly offered to lead cops to a crime scene. Full narrative of incident, as provided by a pressure group, is below.
The pressure group, the Ekid Interest Group, which informed Nigeria Police Watch of the incident, accused the police high command, and the Akwa Ibom State Government of exhibiting lackadaisical attitude towards the incident.
The group expressed dismay that over a month after the men were “extrajudicially murdered”, no step had been taken to bring the culprits to book.
Spokesperson to the Akwa Ibom State Police Command could not be reached for comments as calls made to his mobile telephone failed to connect.
Below is a full statement from Ekid Interest Group, which detailed the incident that led to the killing of the citizens.
“Ekid Interest Group has watched with pains and utter dismay the lackadaisical attitude of both Government and the police high command as regards the recent gruesome and extra- judicial killings of two innocent members of a vigilante group in Okon village of Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State by men of the Nigeria Police attached to Eket Division.
“It would be recalled that in the early hours of Monday, 18th July, 2011, armed robbers invaded the sleepy Ikot Inyang village in Okon Clan. While these robbers were operating, some members of the Village civil guards group (vigilante) contacted the councillor representing the ward, Hon. Nsikan Sunday John of Okon Development Ward II.
“The councillor is said to have called the Eket Divisional Police Officer (D.P.O) Mr. Dike Uchechi, who subsequently dispatched his men to the area. “However, the team of policemen were said to have contacted the councillor, through the DPO stating that they could not trace the location of the crime. The councillor is said to have asked them to come over to his residence in Ikot Akpandem where some of the vigilante members would lead them to the location of the crime at Ikot Inyang, a distance of about 100 metres.
“It is very shocking that upon their arrival at the councillor’s residence, the two members of the civil guards group (Mr. Ita Livinus Ekpo and Mr. Emmanuel Unarmed) went to meet the officers, but the officers opened fire on them amidst pleas of “we’re vigilantes” by the dying men. Thus, the police killed these two unarmed youth instantly! Thereafter, their corpses were taken to the police station and labeled “unidentified armed robbers”. It is instructive to note that both of them died leaving behind five children each, two unemployed widows, aged parents and a host of other dependants.
“Ekid Interest Group is worried that weeks after this ugly incident, nobody has said anything on this matter with the exception of Hon. Ayang A. Ayang,resenting Eket State constituency at the House of Assembly, who tabled the matter on the floor of the House.
In view of this act of lawlessness by men empowered to protect the lives and property of citizens, we demand the following:
1) The immediate redeployment of Mr. Dike Uchechi from Eket, as we regret to observe that the posting of Dike to the once peaceful town of Eket had thrown the town into a near state of anarchy. It would be recalled that it was this same Dike who brutalized a serving National Youth Corps member to a state of coma without justification during the last gubernatorial elections in the Eket. This incident led to the threat by corps members to boycott the said elections, but for the intervention of stakeholders, there probably would not have been an election in Eket.
2) That the Inspector General of Police orders a full scale investigation into the said incidence and bring to book everyone found culpable in this matter.
3) That the Inspector General of Police take steps to ensure that families of the deceased are adequately compensated and
4) That justice should not only be done, but should be seen to have been done.
“Finally, we plead with His Excellence, Chief Godswill Akpabio, the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State to set up an independent panel of inquiry to investigate this matter and other extra-judicial killings by men of the Police in Akwa Ibom State.
It is our belief that these are fundamental towards the restoration of peace in Eket Local Government Area and the confidence of the people of Ekid in the task of building a secured and peaceful community.
“It is unfortunate that at this critical moment when society is in dire need of successful community policing between the communities and security agencies, the police have chosen to thwart the effort by this irresponsible action of a few elements within the Force.
“We trust that relevant and positive action will be taken as soon as practicable by Government to adequately compensate the members of the deceased.”