By Ernest Chinwo
A Chief Magistrate’s Court sitting in Port Harcourt has remanded four dismissed police officers in the custody of Port Harcourt Correctional facility over the death of an auto mechanic, Chima Ikwunador, while in police custody.
Ikwunador and four others, who came to be known as the Ikoku Five, were arrested and detained by the police for allegedly being in possession of stolen vehicle.
The auto mechanics maintained their innocence, insisting that they were only working on the vehicle with the consent of the owner, a position that was also validated by the vehicle owner.
But despite the position of the mechanics and the vehicle owner, the Ikoku Four were allegedly tortured and Ikwunador died in custody.
The Rivers State Police Command had on Monday night announced the dismissal of the four police officers, including a female, for allegedly torturing the late Ikwunador to death in December 2019.
The dismissed officers include: Ayogu Fidelis ‘m’, aged 42 years; Eke Chibuzor ‘m’, aged 36 years; Egbunefu Felix ‘m’, aged 32 years and Rose Georgewill, ‘f’, aged 30 years.
According to the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nnamdi Omoni (DSP), the dismissed officers, who were attached to the Eagle Crack Squad, also unlawfully inflicted various degrees of injuries on Ifeanyi Onyekwere ‘m’, Ogbonna Victor ‘m’, Ifeanyi Osuji ‘m’ and Osaze Friday ‘m’.
Omoni stated that the officers, who had gone through the processes of orderly room trials had been de-kitted and would be charged to court for conspiracy and murder.
When the matter came up before the court Tuesday, the presiding Chief Magistrate Promise Iroanya, who gave the order, said the court lacked the jurisdiction on such a matter.
The presiding chief magistrate stated that the case file would be returned to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and adjourned the matter to September 18, 2020.