#EndSARS: Police deny responsibility for murder of body member

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Police authorities, during a #EndSRAS The panel hearing in Abuja on Monday denied responsibility for the murder of a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) who was allegedly shot dead by a police officer in July 2018.

Linda Igwetu, 23, was reportedly shot dead by a police officer identified as Benedict Peters around Ceddi Plaza in central Abuja on July 4, 2018, the day she was due to complete her national service.

Her sister, Chinenye Igwetu, who petitioned the #EndSARS panel in Abuja, said she was gunned down as she returned home from where she had gone to celebrate the success of the program with her colleagues.

“I want justice for my sister. I want my family to be compensated, even if no amount of money can bring my sister back, ”Chinenye told the panel.

Refusal

The Inspector General of Police and the Commissioner of Police (IGP), Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, through their lawyers, denied responsibility for the murder during the hearing of the case by the #EndSARS panel in Abuja on Monday.

#EndSARS panel is the common name given to the various investigative panels set up in around 28 states and Abuja to investigate cases of rights violations and brutality perpetrated by members of the late Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS ) and other police tactics. units.

The Abuja, an 11-man independent investigative panel set up by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), resumed operations on Monday after lack of funding crippled it for more than six month.

The Linda Igwetu murder petition was one of the first cases heard by the panel led by Suleiman Galadima, a retired Supreme Court justice, on Monday.

Addressing the panel, police attorney Fidelis Ogwobe said the IGP and the CTF Police Commissioner “cannot be vicariously liable” for Linda’s death.

Mr Ogwobe urged the panel to dismiss the petition on the grounds that the man charged with the murder, Benedict Peters, a former police inspector, “is on trial for culpable homicide” by the CTF High Court in Maitama.

Police challenged the jurisdiction of the Abuja #EndSARS panel to hear the murder petition.

Chinenye, the petitioner, has demanded compensation of 250 million naira for the alleged murder of her sister by the police.

Pwadumdi Okoh, the petitioner’s lawyer, opposed the police authorities’ call for the case to be closed without further action.

She insisted that the police authorities were “vicariously responsible” since Mr. Peters was at the checkpoint where he shot the deceased “as an agent of the IGP and the police commissioner. “.

Subsequently, the panel adjourned the case for a report on the progress made in the criminal trial of the accused police officer.

Family of killed member seeks 200 million naira in compensation

The petition filed by the family of a Festus Idehen who was allegedly extrajudicially killed by the police in 2016 was heard on Monday.

The family is seeking 200 million naira for the murder.

Family lawyer Kuyik Usoro, delivering his final speech to the panel on Monday, said justice must be served in what he called a clear case of violation of Mr. Idehen’s right to life. by the police.

Police attorney Umoh Inah said he could not file his reply address because the complainant’s address was served on him late.

The president of the jury, Mr. Galadima, asked the police lawyer to present without fail his written address on October 20.

Meanwhile, the officer in charge of the CTF Police Legal Department, James Idachaba, said many of the force’s lawyers who handed in the various petitions had retired during the panel’s long hiatus.

“Monsignor, we ask for the indulgence of the panel for a brief adjournment to allow us to tidy up our house, as most of the petition lawyers in this tribunal retired during the (panel break # EndSARS in Abuja), ”Mr. Idachaba said.

Meanwhile, police attorney Malik Taiwo, who is handling the case of the alleged illegal arrest and detention of Mustapha Sabo, was unable to present his address as he also reportedly received late the complainant’s address.

Godwin Ijeoma, who is in charge of the case of the alleged extrajudicial murder of Kenneth Ummunna, is said to have retired from the force.

Mr. Galadima tasked the head of the police legal team, Mr. Idachaba, to take charge of the case and respond to the complainants’ speeches.

The case was adjourned until November 1.

Background

The federal and state governments decided to put up the #EndSARS signs following the #EndSARS police brutality protest that took place for weeks in many cities across the country in October of last year.

The organizers mobilized to mark the first anniversary of the historic event on October 20.

Authorities, including federal and state Governments, had warned against the demonstration. But the organizers’ responses were one of mistrust.

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