On December 5, 2013, one Chizoba Okpara (32) who runs a barbing salon in Onitsha, Anambra state was arrested at about 6pm with his motorbike along Atani Road off Power Mike area of Onitsha, Anambra State.
The arrest was carried out by two police officers attached to Habo Police Post namely, Silas and Chijioke known as PRINCE. The two policemen seized Chizoba’s motorbike because he did not present his motorbike particulars.
The next day December 6, Chizoba went to the police post with his particulars and one of the police officers, Prince demanded for the ‘purchasing receipt’ but he said he did not come along with it. Prince detained him.
Later that day, Chizoba Okpara’s wife-Joy Okpara and his younger brother- Anayo Okpara (28) came for his bail and Prince demanded the sum of thirty thousand naira (N30,000.00) for bail but Anayo and Chizoba’s wife said they could only afford five thousand naira. Prince ordered them out of the police post. Anayo and Chizoba’s wife continued to plead until it was clear to them that Prince would not accept any amount less than thirty thousand naira. Anayo left in frustration and said he could not do more than his ability could permit. Angered by this, Prince pulled a baton and went after Anayo, pulled him by the belt from behind, lifted him up and smashed his head on the ground and he lost consciousness.
Sensing danger, other police officers at the police post carried Anayo to nearby Goodnews hospital along Atani road Onitsha.
Prince returned to the police post, released Chizoba from detention and asked him to go and look after his brother in the hospital. The Doctor informed that Anayo’s spinal cord had been seriously injured resulting to paralysis and said he could not handle the case.
Anayo was taken to Pieta hospital Awada where the Doctor also diagnosed spinal cord injury and also said he could not handle the case. He referred them to UNTH, Enugu.
Chizoba took his brother- Anayo to Okpoko Police station to inform the police about this development and to get a police report before taking him to Enugu.
The DPO, Okpoko Police station, upon seeing Anayo’s condition and hearing what happened, summoned Prince – the police officer responsible for the brutality and rebuked him for his unwarranted and unprovoked violence against citizen Anayo. He ordered him to take responsibility for his action.
From there, Prince and other police officers accompanied Chizoba to take Anayo back to Goodnews hospital and again the Doctor said he could not handle the case. Then they took him to Mary hospital and the Doctor referred them to a hospital in Benin. They returned to Okpoko Police station to inform the DPO about this development. While at Okpokpo Police station, Anayo gave up.
The police deposited the deceased Anayo’s corpse at Toronto Hospital mortuary around Upper Iweka.
The DPO transferred the case and the police officer to the state police headquarters, Awka where we are informed the police officer – Prince is now being detained, awaiting orderly Room trial.
Upon receiving this complaint, NOPRIN called the Anambra state Police PRO Emeka Chukwuemeka DSP and requested the Anambra State Police Command to ensure a prompt, impartial and exhaustive investigation and to ensure justice.
Chizoba informed NOPRIN that the IPO- INSPR NWAKONOBI had asked the family to provide money for autopsy.
When NOPRIN inquired about this from the Anambra state police PRO, he said the Anambra command does not condone corruption or cover up of crime and abuse. He asked for time and benefit of doubt for the state command to fully investigate the matter. He assured that the command will do everything to ensure that justice is done.
NOPRIN calls for a credible autopsy that will involve the family representatives.
NOPRIN calls for full disciplinary action against the erring police officer including dismissal and prosecution for murder.
NOPRIN also calls for adequate compensation for the victim’s family.