The counsel for the family of the murdered National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) member, Barrister Obunike Ohaegbu has expressed frustration on the lack of progress in ensuring justice for the deceased.
Ohaegbu,a former Federal Capital Territory Commissioner of the Public Complaints Commission, who spoke on Wednesday in Abuja during a radio programme, ‘Political Platform’ aired on RayPower FM said prosecution of the policeman who murdered late Miss Linda Angela Igwetu is yet to begin nearly one year after she was killed.
He said, “As at today to the best of our knowledge nobody is in court for that. The last information we got on that when we tried to make enquiries from the police command, they told us that the matter on the request of the Attorney General,the file was transferred to the Attorney General’s office and it was actually received in the attorney general’s office on the 11th September 2018. We are in April 2019. To the best of our knowledge nothing is being done.
“During that period,at the peak of the entire thing,even the entire National Assembly was involved,we had public hearing and all that,the lady has been buried and as we speak today nothing is happening. Even the Nigerian Medical and Dental Council we wrote kept on telling us to do affidavit and all that,and that is supposed to be an administrative procedure. And it’s almost one year.”
The late Igwetu was killed when a policeman from a team of Police manning a checkpoint in Abuja shot at a vehicle she was riding in with her friends in the early hours of July 4,2018, the day she was supposed to conclude her national service. She was taken to the Garki Hospital where she was declined treatment by the hospital management who insisted on police report and monetary deposit. She died of the gunshots wounds she sustained.
The FCT Police Command last July announced the dismissal of the indicted officer,Inspector Benjamin Peters from the Police and he has been charged to court for the murder of Igwetu. But that seems not to be the case according to Ohaegbu.
Ohaegbu said the Police authorities have not done enough to deal decisively with officers who commit extrajudicial killings to serve as deterrent to others.
“The first thing is to actually identify the challenges we have as regards such issues. For instance,in the case of Linda,I’ll continue to make reference to that ,the man that was the IPO, the investigation officer at some point,when I had disagreement with him said, ‘do you understand that somebody’s profession is at stake?’. The way I was shocked, he saw the shock in me. A young girl on a day she’s supposed to conclude her national youth service has been murdered and you are talking about somebody’s career. Of course they will tell you that the guy went to a room trial,in less than 24 hours they will tell you that he has been dismissed. They will not tell you that there are appeal procedures that after the razzmatazz the guy could still appeal and still be in police. I won’t be surprised if the guy that killed Linda Igwetu is still in the police”, he said.
On the way forward to ensure that trigger happy security operatives are punished, he added, “There’s little you could do if the institutions are not up to their responsibilities. There should be pressure on the relevant institutions to ensure that the right thing is done.”