By Adibe Emenyonu
The Edo State Judicial Panel of Enquiry for Victims of SARS and other Related Abuses has ordered the arrest of a retired Chief Superintendent of Police, Ms. Carol Afegbai, for failing to appear before it to explain her alleged complicity in the murder of a 500-level student of University of Benin, Mr. Ibrahim Momodu, in 2015.
At its resumed sitting yesterday, a member of the panel, Mr. A. B. Thomas, said that Afegbai who was the former Divisional Police Officer of Ogida Police Station when Momodu was killed has no right not to have appeared before the panel to explain her role in the killing if she has nothing to hide from the public.
Thomas argued that if the court had not tried her then when the case was first instituted, it was because she was not included in the suit but added that as it is now; she is a party to the case.
He said: “We call for her arrest and that she should be brought to this court here. If she was not arrested in the High Court and the Court of Appeal, it is because she was not a party. It was the state versus the man who pulled the trigger but before us here, she is a member to the party and if we just go ahead to conclude (otherwise) my Lord, it will seem she is above the law.
“Therefore, we summon the Commissioner of Police to produce Mrs. Carol Afegbai before this panel.”
In her ruling, the Chairman of the Panel, Justice Ada Ehigiamusoe (rtd), ordered the immediate arrest of Carol Afegbai.
Ehigiamusoe said: “Earlier, the panel had summoned the respondent to appear before this panel in today’s proceedings and it is on record that she has failed to do so.
“It is the view therefore of this panel that the respondent having failed to appear before it, a warrant of arrest should be issued against her to appear before the panel.
“Accordingly, it is hereby ordered that a warrant of arrest be issued forthwith on the said respondent who is named Carol Afegbai who shall appear before this panel following the order of this panel on the 9th day of December, 2020.”
The late Ibrahim Momodu was a 500 Level student of Faculty of Laboratory Science, University of Benin as at the time he was killed close to his family house at No 1, Igbobaewaye Street, Off Siluko Road by Textile Mill junction.
In a related development, a lawyer, Mr. Abraham Oviawe, who is counsel to one Solomon Obode, has prayed the panel to invite the police officers who were allegedly involved in the killing of Mr. Benson Obode as the counsel feared that the alleged killers may have escaped from the Oko Correctional Centre and the Benin Maximum Correctional Centre along Sapele Road, Benin City.