Just as people (Christians) were busy celebrating the resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday and Monday respectively, residents of Abaomege community celebrated theirs in a sad mood as a son to the traditional ruler of the community, Kelechi, a 16 year-old boy was reported dead in police cell situated in the community.
Tension in the area
Consequently, there is tension in the area, as angry youths of the area burnt down a house at the back of the police station, where some policemen are living. A police source said the house was built by the community to encourage the police/community relation in Abomege.
The youths also vandalised the Abaomege police station after burning down the house. It was learnt that policemen on duty had scampered for safety when the youths invaded the station.
Meanwhile, policemen have been massively deployed to the community to prevent further breakdown of law and order.
The Ineke’s had gone to the station to secure his bail when the DPO allegedly denied him the bail on the ground that his case was a serious one. But three days later Ineke’s death was announced by the police. Then the irate youths in the area immediately mobilized and attacked the police station.
Community source had alleged that Ineke was tortured to death by policemen on duty in the station as according to them, he was hale and hearty.
The deceased brother, Prince Nnamdi Ineke, said Kelechi was said to have fought with a police man’s son of his age mate. The boy left the scene of the fight only to come back with his father who is a police officer serving in Abaomege to arrest the prince.
No option of bail
He noted that his brother was arrested with no option of bail and locked up without any sort of questions or interrogation as regards his reason for arrest.
“When we, the family members got there, they said we should go and come back the next day refusing us to see, feed or bail him. The next day they refused us to see, bail or give him food again. Three days of his being in custody he was not allowed to see his siblings or receive food or water from them. We were asked on the fourth day to come the next day with ten thousand naira bailout fee”, he said.
The Divisional Police Officer, DPO, of Abaomege Police Divisional Headquarters and his team however received a punitive transfer for their inability to hitherto explain the circumstances surrounding the death of Kelechi Ineke, son of His Royal Highness, Gabriel Ineke.
Drama as DPO is detained
The erring police officers were also detained for unprofessional conduct. Community source told Blueprint that Kelechi was allegedly beaten and tortured by police officers on duty to his death. But, police source had it that Kelechi allegedly committed suicide using the rope on his boxers to hang himself on the door.
Yet worrisome to the Commissioner of Police, Titus Lamorde, was the detention of late Kelechi over a mere assault case between him and a son of a police Inspector in the area and the refusal of bail by the embattled DPO.
Speaking on the matter, ASP Loveth Odah, Ebonyi State Police Command Spokesperson, who said the death of Kelechi in detention is alien in the history of police force, added that the CP has ordered an autopsy on the late Kelechi to ascertain the real cause of his death.
“Before now, if something happened, those on duty will be arrested. But because of the magnitude of the matter, the former DPO, the CSO, DCO and everybody working there are all in detention.
“Monday morning after the alleged case of suicide was reported, the Commissioner of Police and his management team visited the area to see things for himself.
“It was very surprising since I joined Nigeria Police Force including the CP said it is the first time he is hearing such suicide in police cell. The CP is not happy about it. The whole police officers in that area were all arrested. New DPO and DCO have all been transferred to that area.
“They were arrested to actually ascertain the cause of the death. The police is not trying to be defensive. We are begging the members of the public to wait patiently for police to find out what happened.
“The guy was actually said to have been arrested over case of alleged assault which is a minor offence and it is supposed to have been settled within themselves . We do not know what was in the DPO’s mind. When he was asked, he said the same boy has been involved in series of offense.
“All of them have been invited and statement taken from them to actually know what has caused this. The house of assembly committee on peace and conflict resolution came to my office to see the CP. He appealed to them to enable the police finish investigation. We have not been sweeping the complaints of the public under the carpet and this one will not be an exception.
“The dead boy was brought to the police headquarters as soon as we were informed. Our challenge is that the information did not come on time. If we had responded to them on time, they would not have set the police station ablaze. Though it was built by them to enhance security.
“Because of this incident, the CP decided to invite all the DPOs last Friday. He advised them that they should improve on their relationship with their host communities. The CP told them that everybody should go and renew their relationship with the members of the public, the traditional rulers and the youths.
“We are not talking about the culprit yet. I think life is very important. We will know the full cause of that death of that promising man of 16 years. The deceased has not been buried because the CP has ordered for an autopsy from a certified doctor to know what actually is the cause of the death”, Odah said.
Consequently, the Ebonyi State House of Assembly last week unanimously rose against the controversial death of Prince Kelechi Ineke.
A motion under matters of urgent public importance was moved by the Deputy Speaker, Chief Odefa Obasi Odefa, representing Onicha East State Constituency.
Chief Odefa decried the death which he said is a threat to the peace and security of the area.
He said the body of the deceased had been deposited in the mortuary and prayed the House to prevail on the police to expedite action and bring the perpetrators to book. Valentine Okike, representing Onicha West constituency seconded the motion.
Police officer torturing a suspect
He narrated his encounter at the state headquarters of the police command where he spotted a police officer torturing a suspect with a machete and joined the mover of the motion to pray the House to mandate the relevant authorities to investigate the matter to douse the tension among the youths of the area.
The Speaker of the House who was visibly embittered about the unfortunate incident wondered why a police officer could resort to such act describing the development as embarrassment to the security agencies.
He mandated the House committees on security and judiciary to visit the state Commissioner of Police, Titus Lamorde and report back to the House within one week with their findings.