From Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Cross River State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality and Restitution has ordered the Cross River Police Command to release the corpse of one Ayuk Etta Etta, detained for over two years, for burial.
The panel headed by Justice Michael Edem (retd) while reacting to the petition before it, also nullified the purported banishment of the Paramount Ruler of Etung, HRH Ntui Atue Dr Emmanuel Oru Ojong.
The petition, entitled “Intimidation, harassment, detention and usurpation of the functions of the Paramount Ruler of Etung by AIG Mbu Joseph Mbu (retd)1 through the use of men of the Nigeria police”, reads in part:
‘On 24/12/2018 during Christmas Eve celebration masquerades were in display along Bendeghe-Ekim/Abia road.
‘AIG (retd) Mbu Joseph stopped his convoy personally shot at and killed one Ayuk Etta Etta who was robbing charcoal on his body in preparation to wear masquerade costumes.
‘Boys present carried the corpse of Ayuk Etta Etta and took it to AIG Rtd Mbu’s house at Abia.
‘Upon sighting these boys he he ordered his policemen to shoot and they started firing, shooting one of them Oyom Ngon on the leg which became bad that it had to be amputated.
‘The Director of Public Prosecutions recommended the prosecution big AIG Mbu, however, he used the police and intimidated witnesses from coming forth to testify.
‘In January 2019 AIG Mbu preferred 20 trumped up charges against our client, found him guilty and fined him 10 million naira, 4 live cows or else our clients cocoa farm would be seized.
‘On the 8th February 2020 caused the broadcast purportedly exiling our client from Abia community.
‘AIG Rtd MBU has harassed and intimidated our client using policemen and our client had to run away from his domain and is presently seeking refuge in Ikom,’ the petition read.
However, after considering the petition, Justice Edem argued that the petitioner has the fundamental right as enshrined in the constitution to access his community and ordered the police to grant him unfettered access to his domain.
He said the retired AIG has no right howsoever to be using policemen funded by taxpayers money to harass, intimidate, main and kill the very citizens police were meant to protect.
He also demanded an investigation into the activities of policemen working with AIG Mbu, his prosecution for the murder of Ayuk Etta Etta as well as restitution by AIG MBU and the police for wrongful banishment.