Edo lawmakers probe police killing of UNIBEN student
The Edo State House of Assembly, investigating the police killing of 22-year-old Ibrahim Momodu, a final year student of the University of Benin, has summoned members of the police patrol team implicated in the matter.
At its public hearing held on Thursday, the committee mandated to investigate the controversial killing, led by Monday Ehighalue, acknowledged receipt of a petition sent to the House and promised to get to the root of the matter in assuring that justice was done.
The late Ibrahim Momodu was shot four times in the back and hastily buried after he was accused of being a criminal by officers of the Nigerian Police.
Lawyer to the family of the deceased, Jefferson Uwoghiren, said that his clients needed to achieve closure by getting justice.
Mr Ehighalue directed that the erstwhile Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Ogida Police Station, who led the patrol team, Carol Afegbua; her former orderly, Amadi Idahosa, who has been dismissed; and the spokesperson of the state’s police command, Moses Eguavoen, be present at the committee’s next public hearing.
Timeline of the Ibrahim Momodu saga
Ibrahim, a 500-level Science and Laboratory Technology, was shot dead and hurriedly buried by police officers on May 27, 2013. Residents of the area alleged that a police patrol team led by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Ogida Division, Carol Afegbua, shot the student without provocation.
A month after the incident has occurred, the Edo State Government halted action on setting up a panel of enquiry into the killing, despite Governor Adams Oshiomole’s promise. Chief Press Secretary, Peter Okhiria, pointed out that this action was to avoid duplication of effort by the government as the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had already taken up the case.
Following a prolonged outcry, a magistrate’s court in the state ordered the exhumation of the body, and the state’s police pathologist, Wilson Akhiwu, supervised the procedure.
Tempers flared during the exhumation at the Third Cemetery in Benin City, as student union leaders of the University of Benin and police officers threatened to have a go at each other.
The case took a curious twist as autopsy reports revealed that the victim was alive at the time he was taken to the police station; in contrast with police reports about the shooting.
On July 23, Corporal Amadi Idahosa, was dismissed from the police and recommended to face trial for the killing of Ibrahim.
This development goes against witness reports that Ibrahim was shot by Mrs Afegbua; who also initially admitted to having shot the deceased.
It also contradicts earlier an police position that the deceased was shot because he was armed.
Results of the autopsy report, carried out on June 6, 2013, showed that Ibrahim was shot four times at the back, calling to question the initial statement of the police.