The police in the Eket Division in Akwa Ibom State today shot and killed seven kidnap suspects in circumstances that remain unclear, according to our sources.
Reports by SaharaReporters, a New York-based news portal, indicate that the suspected kidnappers were executed by the police in cold blood, raising concerns about the legal powers of the police to act as investigators, prosecutors, judges and implementers of judgments.
The reports said thousands of residents in Eket metropolis thronged the police station to catch a glimpse of the remains of the suspects whose bodies were displayed in the premises.
Policemen at the station were having a tough time controlling the large crowd that converged on the station, creating a chaotic situation.
Members of the public who could not gain access to the station took up all available spaces in the neighborhood to gaze at the lifeless bodies left in a pool of blood.
Two police sources in Eket confirmed the incident to the website, saying the men died in a routine operation against kidnappers.But a police informant countered the police version of the story, saying the suspects were assembled from different locations and executed in Eket Police Division.
“It is shocking and cruel that the police would execute people without properly handing them over for prosecution, and then create a mindless exhibition of their bodies,” said a human rights lawyer in Akwa Ibom. He added that, unless citizens recognized the dangers of such jungle justice, the police could easily kill innocent people by tagging them kidnappers.
The website said it could not reach Onyeka Orji, the police spokesman in Akwa Ibom, for comments.