David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
A tricycle operator, Chinedu Samuel Agu, has been allegedly killed by a police Sergeant simply identified as Magaji over his refusal to offer N100 bribe to police officers at a checkpoint in Onitsha.
THISDAY gathered that Sergeant Magaji and two of his colleagues from Bridge Head Police Division, Onitsha stopped Agu around Niger Street, Onitsha but decided to molest him when he refused to offer them N100 as ‘settlement’.
Dede Uzor, a rights activist in Onitsha, said it was in the process of beating Agu that one of the policemen pushed him out of his tricycle, into an on-coming vehicle, causing his death.
THISDAY gathered that the incident which happened last week Friday led to the arrest of Sergeant Mogaji.
A petition by the Human Rights Defenders of Nigeria (HRDN) to the Anambra State Police Commissioner, Mr Umar Garba, has called for the investigation into the death of the 22-year-old transporter, while also calling for necessary action against the erring police officer.
In a petition signed by the group’s Chairman, Uzor Uzor, the group described the death of Agu as despicable.
In its account, the group said: “The brutal killing took place on 8th June 2018 around 3.20pm opposite Bridge Head Wood market just a few meters from Bridge Head Police Division.
“Citizen Chinedu Samuel Agu was forcefully ejected from his Keke and kicksomersaulted with gun butt and pushed into an upcoming vehicle which led to his instant death.
“The officers which perpetrated this heinous crime was aided by the divisional police officer and immediately after the incident, arrested.”
The group regretted that even though the culprits were arrested, they were never questioned or interrogated over their despicable and “unpolicemanly” role in the death of Agu.
It further lamented that the family of Agu was invited by the DPO, and told to their amazement that the detained Sergeant Magaji had escaped from lawful police detention and pleaded with the family to proceed to the mortuary to carry their disease for burial.
The group said such act would not be accepted, while urging the police commissioner to use his good office to ensure justice for the deceased by punishing the culprits upon ascertaining the cause of the death.
Meanwhile, the Anambra State Police Command has reacted to the death of the transporter.
SP Haruna Mohammed, spokesperson of the command, reacting to the request from THISDAY said the story as told by the rights group was totally false.
Mohammed said: “The suspect in question was not murdered by the police. He was smoking dry leaves suspected to be Indian hemp and on sighting the police took to his heel but was knocked down by a moving truck when crossing the highway.
“He was rushed to the hospital for medical attention but was certified dead by a medical doctor. Meanwhile, the driver of the truck was arrested and the case is under investigation.”