Tony John, Port Harcourt
A Chief Magistrate’s Court sitting in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, has remanded four operatives of Eagle Crack squad of Nigeria Police Force accused of involvement in the death of Chima Ikwunado and torture of four other Ikokwu mechanics.
Trail Chief Magistrate Promise Iroanya ordered that the accused persons, Ayogu Fidelis, Eke Chibuzor, Egbunefu Felix and Rose Georgewill (female) be kept in the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre for the alleged murder of Ikwunado and torture of four others.
They are standing trial on a seven-count charge of conspiracy, murder, assault, attempted murder, causing harm by hanging one of the victims upside-down and flogging him.
When the charges were read before the accused persons, they pleaded not guilty.
Chief Magistrate Iroanya, in his ruling, after going through the charge, said his court lacks the power to hear the matter in counts one, two and three but has jurisdiction from counts four to seven.
He directed that the case file be sent to DPP for legal advice and ordered for the remand of the accused persons in the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre.
Iroanya stated: ‘It is my final view that all the entire counts be directed to the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) for the right court to hear the matter.’
The matter was adjourned till September 8 for DPP’s legal advice.
Meanwhile, the accused persons, who allegedly tortured late Ikwunado to death in December 2019, and unlawfully inflicted various degrees of injury on Ifeanyi Onyekwere, Ogbonna Victor, Ifeanyi Osuji and Osaze Friday, were dismissed from the Force by the Rivers State Police Command.
The officers went through the processes of orderly room trial. They were on Monday de-kitted and dismissed from the Force, hence their arraignment.
It would be recalled that the Commissioner of Police, CP Joseph G. Mukan, in his maiden press briefing on assumption of duty in the state, had promised to address all cases of infractions and unprofessional conduct of the officers and men of the Command and to offer quality policing services to the state.
‘The dismissal of today is an eloquent demonstration of his (CP Mukan) transparency and avowed commitment to entrench discipline in the Command while appealing to the public to remain steadfast and continue to have faith in the police by assisting us with useful information that will enhance our job,’ the Command’s statement read.