IGP Alkali Baba

IGP Alkali Baba

Juliana Francis

Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), a non-profit organiation has urged the Inspector-General of Police Alkali Baba to cause an investigation to be launched into the murder of Mr. Johnson Ocheje Anyebe at the Ijadoga Otukpa area of Benue State.

The deceased was alleged to have been killed by an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Emmanuel Ejeh, serving in Enugu State Police Command. Ejeh was further alleged to have caused the death of Anyebe, along with five others.

The Executive Director of RULAAC, Mr. Okechukwu Nwanguma urged the IGP to order an impartial and exhaustive investigation into the alleged conspiracy and murder of Anyebe of Ijadoga-Otukpa in Ogbadibo LGA of Benue State by an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Emmanuel Ejeh serving in Enugu State Police Command and five others on 9th July 2022.

Ambassador Onoja and Johnson Anyebe Jnr who witnessed the incident informed RULAAC that Anyebe was allegedly murdered at the house of one Mr. Danboyi Idoko in Ijadoga-Otukpa in Ogbadibo LGA of Benue State, over a land tussle between him and some members of his community involvement in the murder.

Nwanguma said: “ASP Ejeh, also from Ijadoga Otukpa is said to be the Chairman of Ijadoga Community Association and it was in that capacity that he invited the deceased and persuaded him to come for the ‘phantom meeting’. He also invited the five others who turned out to be part of the murder plot. Ejeh had informed the deceased that he was inviting him and others to a meeting of the Ijadoga Community Association to settle their land dispute, but it turned out to be a plot to lure and murder him. As soon as they executed the plot to murder the deceased, ASP Ejeh immediately went back to Enugu and did not report the incident to the police or alert the police that he was involved in a meeting where somebody died.”

Nwanguma also said that other suspects and people in the community also vacated their homes in fear of reprisals by members of the deceased’s family. The deceased’s family members were said to have refrained from taking the law into their hands, but rather reported the incident at Ublegi Police Station following which, the five suspects were arrested excluding ASP Ejeh, and detained at the Police Station for four days.

The activist said that due to fears by the complainants that justice might elude them due to the undue influences and interference by some traditional and political authorities within the community, they wrote a petition, and the case was transferred to the Benue State Police Headquarters, Makurdi and referred to the Command’s Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (CIID).

“The scenario that played out at the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in charge of the CIID clearly showed that the office has also been influenced and compromised and will be incapable of doing justice. The DCP FCIID took sides and spoke in defense of the influential suspects, refused to grant the complainants the right of a fair hearing but shouted them down and demanded that they provide the sum of 250,000,000 within 48 hours for the police to conduct an autopsy else he would release the suspects on bail even when no investigation had been carried out by his office. The DCP turned down pleas made by the complainants to be given one week to source for the money and went ahead to release the suspects who were not even detained in a police cell in the first place,” said Nwanguma.

The activist further said that after they were released, the suspects went back to the community and started threatening the family of the deceased that they will kill them and nothing will happen, boasting that after all one of the suspects, had committed murder in the past which led to his imprisonment but was a free man today.

Nwanguma said: “The suspects particularly threatened to kill Johnson Anyebe Jnr who is the principal witness in the case, and this is making him live in fear and hiding from the suspects. The suspects are constantly taunting the family and carrying on as if nothing has happened and as if they are above the law, boasting that nothing will come out of the case under investigation. They are particularly concerned that ASP Ejeh, who is one of the principal persons in the plot and the person who invited Anyebe to the ‘phantom community meeting’ where he was murdered is yet to be invited or arrested for questioning and statement-making regarding his role in the murder of Anyebe. They are also wondering if being a Senior Police Officer confers immunity on ASP Ejeh from being invited or arrested for investigation for involvement in a crime as heinous as murder. The family of the deceased is law-abiding and believes in the rule of law and the IGP’s determination to uphold justice, promote discipline and punish crime and misconduct by police officers as demonstrated in recent instances where the IGP has ordered the investigation and disciplinary measures against police officers involved in misconduct and abuse of police powers.”

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