The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petition probing the death of an auto mechanic, Chima Ikwunador, while in police custody in Rivers State has adjourned sitting to December 10, 2020, over non-appearance by the police at the investigative hearing on Wednesday in Abuja.
The deceased, a car repairer, died in controversial circumstances in police custody while being detained alongside four others.
The others arrested by the police include Victor Ogbonna, Osaze Friday, Ifeanyi Osuji and Ifeanyi Onyekwere.
The operatives of the Eagle-Crack, an outfit of the state police command had in December 2019 arrested, detained and tortured the four Ikoku motor spare parts dealers for an allegedly being in possession of stolen vehicles.
At the commencement of the hearing, the police did not send any representatives despite being duly invited for the hearing.
The chairman of the committee expressed displeasure over the action of the police for their absence at the meeting.
Meanwhile, other parties in the matter, including Rivers State civil society organisations and the four victims of brutality, were present at the meeting.
The committee, therefore, adjourned the matter to December 10 to allow the Nigerian police to be heard.
The Chairman of Rivers State Civil Society, Enefaa Georgewill, who spoke to SaharaReporters criticised the police for not showing up at the hearing.
“This is another loss and expenses on our part as petitioners,” he said. “The respondent refused to come. He suffers no loss. They are the ones who murdered someone. They are the ones who tortured these victims,” he added.
“We are here to make key demands that the former commander of Eagle Crack Squad, SP Benson Adetuyi, should be arrested and prosecuted in the competent court of law,” Georgewill said.
He called on the Inspector General of Police to prosecute the police officer, Inspector Sam Amadi Nnodim, for his alleged role in supervising the torture and killing of Chima in detention.
Georgewill wondered why the officers who were earlier mentioned in the matter were not arraigned in court.
Meanwhile, some members of the civil society groups at the hearing had protested against the plan by the clerk to the committee who ordered some journalists who came to cover the event out of the venue.
The clerk told the journalists that the media would not be allowed until the committee concluded its investigation.
But in a swift reaction, the chairman of the committee denied the insinuation as he announced that the media would not be barred from covering the hearing.
The Rivers State Police Command had announced the dismissal of the four police officers, including a female, for allegedly torturing the late Ikwunador to death in December 2019 and inflicting pain on others.
The officers were charged before a magistrate court in the state and later remanded at the Port Harcourt prison.
They were also expected to face trial on charges of conspiracy and murder, a case which the presiding chief magistrate, Promise Iroanya, had returned to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) because his court lacked the jurisdiction on such matter.
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.