Friday, 6 November 2020

How My Sister Was Shot By Abuja Policeman, Died On NYSC Passing-Out Day ... Petitioner

Testifying before the Federal Government’s  Independent Investigative Panel probing cases of police brutality in Abuja, a petitioner,  Miss Chineye Igwetu, on Thursday, broke down in tears as she recounted how her 23-year-old younger sister was allegedly shot by a policeman around Ceddi Plaza in the Central Area of Abuja in July 2018.

Chineye said her sister, Linda Igwetu, was shot by Inspector Benjamin Peters of the Federal Capital Territory Police Command, Abuja, in the night of July 3, 2018.

She said the policeman  later claimed that he opened fire on the car conveying the deceased because the driver of the car refused to stop when he was flagged down.

Chineye said the deceased died in her pool of blood the next morning at  6am on July 4, 2018, few hours before the deceased was to pass out from the National Youth Service Corps scheme.

The petitioner,  who appeared strong at the beginning of her about-15-minute testimony, lost control of her emotion as she broke down in tears when she started narrating how the deceased died at Garki General Hospital, Abuja, allegedly without being accorded the necessary first aid.

She recalled that her sister was observing her service year at a customer service provider firm, Outsource Global Company in Mabushi, Abuja, as her place of primary assignment.

She said the deceased was living with her and usually resumed work at 1pm and closed at 11pm.

According to her, in the night of July 3, 2018, the day of the incident, Linda was out with two of her colleagues, Tobi Bamidele and Arafat, to celebrate her passing- out from the NYSC scheme which was to take place the following morning.

She said that at about 10.22pm on the fateful day, Linda sent her a WhatsApp message to inform her that she was going out to have some drinks with her colleagues to celebrate her imminent passing out from the NYSC scheme.

She said after waiting on her to return for some time, she slept off but later woke up at about 2am and was surprised to find out that the deceased, who had a spare key to the apartment, had yet to return.

She said, “At about 4.35am, I got a distress call from an unknown number and it was Mr Bamidele Tobi, asking me to come quickly to Garki hospital that something happened on their way home.

“I got to the hospital and was informed that my sister was shot by Inspector Benjamin Peters. Mr Tobi narrated that on their way home, they heard a loud sound and initially thought it was a tyre burst. He said the next thing was that my sister tapped him from the back seat that something hit her below her breast.

“They looked back and found my sister gasping for breath in her pool of blood and that was when they realised that she was hit by a bullet and that the sound they heard was that of a gunshot.

“On their way to Garki hospital, the police stopped them and followed them to the hospital.”

She said her sister kept bleeding at the hospital, but despite her and her friend’s readiness to donate blood to save the deceased’s life, the nurses and doctors said they would not take blood from a woman.

She said she called on her male friends and left for the national blood bank at Zone 4 in Wuse, Abuja, where they were initially told that there was no blood.

She said shortly after she left, a call from the blood bank asked her to return to get some blood.

She added that she was on her way back when one of her male friends who had been to the hospital to donate blood, called her to return to the hospital.

She said she returned to the blood bank all the same, only to later find out that she was being called to return to the hospital earlier because her sister had died.

“My sister passed out at about 6am after she was in a pool of blood without the necessary first aid,” she said.

Asked if she had heard from the police since the incident, she said Inspector Peters who allegedly shot her sister was arrested and interrogated but after some back-and-forth engagements with the police over the matter, the investigative police officer, whom the case was assigned to. stopped answering her calls.

She added that she received a call from the then Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who later set up a four-man committee of senators to probe the case.

She said, “We kept going back and forth. The hearing went on for about a week. The Inspector-General of Police came. But they kept saying ‘come back today, come back tomorrow,’ until nothing happened again.

“I kept going to the IPO. At some points he stopped answering my calls and I got tired.”

Asked what she wanted from the panel, Chineye said, “I want justice. I want my family to be compensated. I want to see my family smile once again. I want justice for my sister.”

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