The Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) has petitioned the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) seeking the arrest of the officer in charge of the Lagos special anti-robbery squad (SARS) Ikeja division of the Nigerian police.
The petition was informed by the seeming inaction of the police to effect arrest and prosecution of police operatives from Ikeja SARS who on March 8, 2013 allegedly shot and killed one Mr. Eze Okoro.
NOPRIN alleged that the victim was killed near his residence at No. 1, Oguntolu Street, by Meiran Bus Stop, Alagbado, a Lagos suburb.
Narrating the incident the Network said eyewitnesses in the residence informed it that the policemen who perpetrated the act had spent six hours drinking at a nearby Hotel close to the residence of the victim before they set out on the deadly operation that led to this senseless killing of an innocent family man.
NOPRIN national coordinator Mr. Okechukwu Nwanguma in the petition made available to Leadership said that Mr. Eze Okoro had returned home from business at about 8.00 pm on that fateful day and as was his daily routine, he took his bath, had dinner, and then went to sit out with his friend Mr. Chinedu Nwaonu and his pregnant wife- to get some fresh air outside.
Nwanguma said Okoro was only dressed in a pair of short and slippers, and hung his shirt on his shoulder and suddenly they heard sporadic gunshots and the three of them- along with other frightened residents, ran for safety.
“The pregnant woman fell down and was pleading with one of the policemen who had accosted her. She explained that she was pregnant and a resident in the area. She told the policeman that she was with her husband pointing at him, and Mr. Okoro to get some fresh air outside since there was no light that night”.
Narrating further he said,”The policemen left her and her husband to go. At the same time, another policeman had also accosted Mr. Eze who had his hands raised up and pleading that he was also a resident, pointing to his house. Suddenly, one of the policemen shot him at the back and he fell down bleeding profusely. The policemen bundled him into their vehicle and drove away”.
For three days, the family traversed several police stations trying to locate him.
“On Tuesday, March 12, the DCO Meiran Police Division, on the directives of the DPO, gave a note to the family to go to SARS, Ikeja- a second time, to inquire. They met the O/C SARS, Ikeja Mr. Abba Kyari and his 2i/c Mr. Peter who told them that they were sorry, ‘it was a case of mistaken identity’ and that Mr. Eze Okoro was ‘killed in error’.
Nwanguma lamented that one year after, the killer operatives are yet to be brought to account and therefore demanded for the arrest and prosecution of the O/C SARS, Ikeja and all other officers involved.