From Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
The Speaker of Taraba State House of Assembly, Prof Joseph Albasu Kunini, has condemned the killing of 37-year-old Oliver Ezra by police in Jalingo and the general spate of police assaults on innocent citizens.
The Speaker made the call on Wednesday when youth under the auspices of ONE TARABA YOUTH COALITION, carrying placards with various inscriptions, stormed the State House of Assembly Complex in Jalingo, to register their grievances against the death of Ezra as a result of gunshots wounds he sustained at a police checkpoint along Jalingo-Numan highway.
‘I receive you to the State House of Assembly Complex today with a very heavy heart. We woke up yesterday with the shocking news of the death of one of you, Oliver Ezra, as a result of police brutality. This should not be happening now. We in the State House of Assembly will not rest on our oars until the deceased receives justice, even in death; he was an asset.
‘The State Commissioner of Police has said that the culprit has been apprehended and will face the necessary disciplinary process according to the Police Act, and thereafter charged to Court to face the full wrath of the law. As lawmakers, we will not condone such heinous crimes by the police personnel who are being paid with taxpayers’ money to protect our lives and property.
‘As a parliament, we don’t address people on the streets; therefore you are in the right place to register your protest against police brutality and the killing of Oliver Ezra; we will diligently follow up to ensure that justice is meted out against the culprit.
‘I cannot imagine training my son up to university level, and after graduation, his life is cut short by a trigger-happy policeman. It is very sad.’
Mr Philip Achagwa, leader of the youth coalition told the Speaker and other members of the State House of Assembly that they had come to present their letter of protest to the Inspector General of Police against the extra-judicial killing of Oliver Ezra by one Sergeant Haruna Idi.
The protest letter read in part that “One Taraba Youth Coalition is a non-religious, non-ethnic, no-secretive and a non-profit making hub of youthful Assembly created to showcase and promote the beauty, diversity, culture and people of Taraba State, and is aimed at uniting indigenous tribes and non-indigenes alike with a view of lending one voice on critical issues of development.
‘We write to you today urging for an independent investigation by Nigeria Police Force into the unimaginable and unconscionable MURDER OF MR. OLIVER EZRA BARAWANI, which our preliminary findings indicate that while he was driving his principal, the Executive Chairman of Lau local government area of the State, one Sergeant Haruna Idi of the Nigerian Police Force assigned on a ‘beat’ at a checkpoint along Jalingo-Numan road, accused the deceased of violating instructions at a checkpoint.
‘However, due to prior incident of negligence, concealment of facts and numerous conflicts, we are far from confident that true justice will be served in this case without the intervention of the Inspector General of Police, whose sincerity of purpose has transformed the Nigeria Police Force to a world-class security outfit within the shortest possible time of his assumption of office.’
Daily Sun recalls that the late Oliver Ezra died at the Federal Medical Center Jalingo on Tuesday morning as a result of the gunshots wounds he sustained from Sgt Haruna Idi last Friday, triggering a series of protests in parts of the state against police brutality and calls for justice for the deceased.