Family members and sympathisers, Saturday, gathered at the Ebebelibiri Cemetery, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, to bury the remains of Master Innocent Kokorifa, a 17-year-old boy allegedly killed by the police, amidst tears.
Innocent, the first child of Mr. Daniel Kokorifa, an official of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), was gunned down in mysterious circumstances by the police along Airforce Road in Yenagoa, on August 18, 2016.
The victim was reportedly running an errand for his mother, Pere Kokorifa, when the police allegedly killed him about 11am on the fateful day.
But the state police command in a statement claimed that the victim was killed in a gun duel between a three-man notorious armed robbery gang and the police team.
Siblings of the victim, officials of the FRSC, some human rights activists, cousins, friends and parents were present at the funeral.
Innocent’s corpse was moved from Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Yenagoa, where an autopsy was conducted on it to the burial site.
People broke down in tears at the funeral, which commenced at 9am, when the deceased’s casket was opened for them to see.
Rose, cried uncontrollably at the killing of her son but was consoled by friends who could not help their tears.
Speaking at the funeral, Kokorifa expressed optimism that the killers of his son would pay for the murder and the pains they inflicted on his family.
He said he would go to court as soon as the police concluded their investigation.
He said: “What they have done to me and the people of the Izon nation must not go unpunished.
“If the judge feels that how they killed my son is okay, they will go scot-free, but if the judge says no, definitely, that trigger-happy policeman will pay dearly for the murder.
“I know the person that killed my son very well. He is a police officer who has been in the habit of killing people. In Abia State, he killed somebody and was locked up for nine months before he was released.
“The same person came to kill my son again. The name of the policeman that killed my son is Vincent Kolamawe. He is from Southern Ijaw (our local government). I have seen the man at Zone 5, Benin City. He is still in detention with six other policemen that were involved in the killing.”
Kokorifa alleged that the police in Bayelsa were bias but added that he was satisfied at the investigations conducted by Zone 5 where the matter was transferred to.
He said the autopsy carried out by a team of pathologists at the FMC confirmed that his son died from the bullets fired by that policeman.
He insisted that his son was not a criminal as claimed by his killers lamenting that his late son desired to read Law before he met his untimely death.
In his remarks, a rights activist and former Secretary, Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Mr. Alagoa Morris, said it was sad the death of the teenager was sad.
He said: “The death is unfortunate. We try to understand the circumstances under which the security agencies are working in this country, we appreciate the situation, but then, we (the human rights community) are saying that the security agencies ought to exercise restrain at all times because therein lies their discipline.
“As armed bearing persons, who are meant to secure lives and property, the discipline they had during their training ought to prevail in all circumstances. As a human rights person, I am saying that the investigation so far is going on well. Though initially it was very shady here in Bayelsa but for the intervention of Zone 5 intervention.
” Let it be understood that the sanctity of human lives ought to maintained and once you violate somebody’s right to live as guaranteed by the constitution and other international instruments such as the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the law should take its course.”