Alleged Murder: Five Years after, Ex-lawmaker Seeks Prosecution of Police Officer over Son’s Death

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  • Seeks N3bn Compensation

By Alex Enumah

Five years after the alleged murder of his son (late John Okoro) by a police officer, a former senator who represented Enugu North Senatorial District between 1999 and 2007, Senator Fidelis Okoro, has dragged the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), the Inspector General of Police (IG), Muhammed Adamu, and others before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court seeking prosecution of the killer police officer.

John Okoro was murdered in Durumi area of Abuja, when he was allegedly shot on his leg and chest on August 11, 2014 by a police officer, Mohammed Yusuf.

John, 31 years old at the time of the alleged murder, just came back from London where he was studying Business Administration.

In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/C5/1165/2019 brought before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court Abuja, the plaintiff and ex-lawmaker is also asking for the sum of N3 billion as compensation for the alleged killing of late John Okoro.

Consequently, the plaintiff is praying the court to among others mandate/direct the 2nd and 3rd defendants to immediately arraign/charge the 4th defendant before a court of competent jurisdiction for alleged offence of murder.

Defendants in the suit filed on behalf of the plaintiff by Mbanefo Ikwegbue are the Police Service Commission (1st defendant), IG (2nd defendant), the NPF (3rd defendant) and one Mr Mohammed Yusuf (4th defendant), an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) with Force No. AP/No 79224, who allegedly shot John Chukwuemeka Okoro to death.

In terms of compensation, the plaintiff is asking the court to mandate the 2nd and 3rd defendants to pay the plaintiff the sum of N3 billion as compensation/damages for unlawful murder of John Okoro, son of the plaintiff.

“That the sum of N100,000,000.00 (one hundred million naira only) be granted as special damages for the ill-health of the plaintiff which was caused by the actions of the 4th defendant.

“That the sum of N20,000,000.00 (twenty million naira only) be awarded by the court as cost of the suit to the plaintiff. And also for such further or other orders as the court deem fit to make in the circumstance.”

The plaintiff predicated his claim on the grounds that the 1st defendant is a commission set up by the Federal Government of Nigeria and saddled with the responsibility, among other things, to appoint persons to offices (other than the IG) in NPF and to dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over any person holding the office in the Nigeria Police.

“That the 2nd defendant is the Inspector General of Police in Nigeria who is responsible for providing security and protection of lives and properties in Nigeria and also the employer of the 4th defendant.

“That the 3rd defendant is the body charged with the responsibility of carrying out the duties of providing security and protection of lives and properties throughout the whole country and also the employer of the 4th defendant.

“That the 4th defendant is an officer and employee of the 3rd defendant with Force No. AP/No 79224. (e) And that he avers that he is the biological father of Mr John Chukwuemeka Okoro who was alleged to have been brutally murdered by the 4th defendant.”

However, the late John was said to have met his untimely death following the alleged pursuit of a car snatching syndicate at Mabushi area of Abuja on that fateful day. The police patrol team led by Mohammed Yusuf, following a tip off, went on the trail of the said car snatchers up to Durumi area where the deceased and his friend, Mr Sunny Black, we’re having a good time.

In the course of the police operation, there was a confusion and an argument obviously ensued and the police officer reportedly shot John on the leg and more gun shot followed on his chest area and he allegedly died instantly. His body was said to have been taken all the way to the Gwagwalada General Hospital, Abuja where the police officers told the hospital authorities that the deceased was a victim of hit and run vehicle. The hospital then admitted his body into the mortuary.

But the plaintiff and father of the deceased on learning about his son’s killing, quickly returned from his overseas trip and reported the incident to the police.

He got his lawyer to write a formal petition to the police asking for a full investigation into the gruesome murder. This was done by the authorities of the police. Both autopsy report conducted by the police medical department and an orderly room trial by a panel allegedly indicted the accused police officers and this led to their detention and subsequent dismissal from the police.

But five years after the killing of the ex-lawmaker’s son, the police was said to have been silent on the matter which prompted the deceased’s father to approach the court and seek for justice for his son.

The case, which was slated for hearing on Wednesday last week at court 5 of the Federal High Court Abuja, was however adjourned for hearing by Justice Ekwo on December 5, 2019.