- Rivers govt urges police to re-arrest suspect
- Activists seek suspension of police commissioner
Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Outrage wednesday continued to trail the escape of suspected ritual killer, Ifeanyichukwu Dike, from police custody as scores of protesters, mostly women, took to the streets in Port Harcourt to protest against what they called police complicity in the disappearance of the suspect.
The Rivers State Government has also described the incident as embarrassing and unacceptable and called on the police command to ensure the immediate re-arrest of the suspect, just as the police have promised “handsome reward” for information that would lead to the apprehension of the suspect.
23-year-old Dike, who was arrested at Eliozu Community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers last Saturday by men of the Okporo Police Station, for allegedly abducting, killing and dismembering one eight-year-old Chikamso Victory, escaped from custody shortly after he was paraded by the police.
He was said to have escaped from the State CID after the Investigating Police Officer (IPO), one Johnbosco, removed the handcuff that was on the suspect to take his statement and was leading him to the cell.
Worried by the development, scores of protesters took to the streets yesterday to demand justice over the killing of Chikamso.
The protesters, most of whom were women, wore black attires as they marched through Eliozu suburb, where the killing took place, calling on the police to fish out the suspect behind Chikamso’s murder.
The protesters were however dispersed around the Eliozu Bridge at about 11a.m. by the police using tear gas.
One of the protesters, who simply identified herself as Angela, told journalists that they were not deterred by the police action and would continue the protest until the suspected ritual killer was re-arrested.
She said: “We will not go back on our resolve to ensure that justice is done in this matter. How could a man kill a girl in such a terrible manner for ritual purpose and the moment the culprit was apprehended and taken to the police, he disappeared.
“We want the police to do the needful by ensuring that Dike is rearrested. If such terrible thing can happen in the police, then we are not safe in this country.”
She also called on the police to dismiss and try the IPO, Johnbosco, from whose hand Chikanmso’s killer escaped.
The Rivers State Government also condemned the escape of the suspect from police custody, describing it as embarrassing.
In a statement issued in Port Harcourt yesterday, Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Banigo, said the police and other law enforcement agencies should step up their game and ensure that the felon is re-arrested and brought to justice without delay, stressing that the report that the suspect escaped from the hands of the IPO is totally unacceptable.
Banigo, who commiserated with the bereaved family on the gruesome murder of little Miss Victory Chikamnso, said:, “As a mother, I am still numb with shock to hear that a full grown man could defile an eight-year-old girl and also go ahead to mutilate her body for purported money rituals.”
She advised parents and guardians to take extra precautions to ensure that their children, especially female children, were protected from predators like Ifeanyi Dike, whom she described as a devil incarnate.
Meanwhile, some rights activists in the state have called for the immediate suspension of the Commissioner of Rivers State Police Commissioner, Ahmed Zaki, following the escape of the suspected ritual killer from police custody.
A civil rights activist, Opunab Inko-Tariah, noted that Dike, said to be a 200-level student of the University of Port Harcourt, was arrested for allegedly dismembering his eight-year old niece for ritual purposes and accused the Commissioner of Police of complicity and negligence in the escape of the suspect.
He said the CP should ensure that the suspect is rearrested in the next 24 hours.
On his part, Eugene Ode, a legal practitioner in the state, called for a thorough search and re-arrest of the suspect.
Meanwhile as part of its efforts to track down and re-arrest the escaped suspected ritual killer, the state police command has promised a handsome reward to anyone who would volunteer any information that would lead to the arrest of Dike.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nnamdi Omoni (DSP), in a statement in Port Harcourt yesterday promised that “anyone who will assist the police with information that will lead to the re-arresting of the suspected ritualist Ifeanyichukwu Dike will be handsomely rewarded.”