Tony John, Port Harcourt
Aggrieved motor mechanics and colleagues of late Chima Ikwunado have protested in Ikoku axis of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, over the victim’s sudden death.
The protest started in the early hours of 8 am, thereby causing a gridlock, as motorists made a U-turn to avoid the area.
One of the protesters, Emeka Osuji, said the essence of the protest was to demand justice for their colleague, late Chima and the release of their four colleagues held in police detention since December 20, 2019.
He said: “We are not happy, our stance is for the police to release Chima’s corpse to the family or to us, and release the four boys in their detention. This is not fair; what an injustice!”
Osuji also alleged that the police were being economical with the truth about Chima’s death.
“They (police) are not telling the truth, something is not adding up. I strongly believe that Chima was tortured to death and not because of diabetes as they want us to believe,” he insisted.
He maintained that late Chima had no health challenge, let alone excessive sugar in the blood, as being told by the police.
Another mechanic, Kelechi Onyekwere, said they were not resting on their oars until justice prevails.
“No matter what the police will do, we will continue to protest until those policemen, who tortured Chima to death, are brought to book and our other boys in their custody released,” Onyekwere declared.
There was burning of tyres at all junctions leading to the popular Ikoku Market.
At 12 noon, police started dispersing the protesters and passersby with teargas canisters; people were ordered to raise their hands for identification while passing.
The protest paralysed business activities around the environs and created some tension.
Fierce-looking armed policemen in several patrol vehicles were positioned at some strategic junctions to halt the protesters’ advancement.
It would be recalled that since news of the victim’s death broke out in Port Harcourt, it has generated serious public outrage.
The owner of the vehicle, which the deceased and four others were reportedly driving in, had told members of the public that Chima was his mechanic for the past four years and his car was not stolen.
Other aggrieved persons, who knew the deceased maintained that the victim was tortured by the police and he had no health challenge as claimed by the police.
Last week, the state police command, through its spokesman, Nnamdi Omoni, said an autopsy report according to the Commander of E-Crack, the squad that arrested the victim and four others in detention, Superintendent of Police, SP Benson Adetuyi, showed that the victim died of excess sugar in his blood.