Ohanaeze Protests Mechanic’s Death In Rivers Police Detention, Demands Justice


The dust generated by the death of a motor mechanic, Chukwudi Abraham, while in detention at the Octopus Strike Force of the Rivers State Police Command in Port Harcourt has yet to settle, as the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has staged a protest demanding justice.

The members of the apex Igbo socio-cultural group gathered at the spare parts market in Ikoku, Mile Two area of Port Harcourt on Saturday afternoon where the deceased’s shop was located and marched around the place after they had paid a condolence visit to his family.

During the protest, the protesters insisted that Chukwudi’s death in January was suspicious and called on the Inspector General of Police to order a thorough investigation to ascertain the circumstances of his death, unmask the perpetrators and make them face the law.

Speaking to newsmen, the Eze Ndi Igbo in Rivers and Bayelsa states, Sir Sam Nwokolo, said the deceased was arrested by the tactical police unit led by a senior officer under what he described as a vendetta mission and was detained illegally.

Eze Nwokolo debunked claims by the police that Chukwudi was a kidnapper and detained him illegally, saying a close examination of the deceased’s body showed that he was tortured and resulted in his death.

While noting that a pathologist had been consulted to conduct an autopsy on his body in collaboration with the police, he stated that a situation where an arrested suspect dies in detention, especially in the said circumstances left much to be desired.

He stated, “We visited the market where the deceased carried out his business to have firsthand information because one of our subjects, an Igbo son, was murdered by the Nigeria Police men in Rivers State.

“So, we came to interface with the people, the spare parts dealers in Port Harcourt where he operated his business, the Igbo community and the family of the deceased. From our observation, we discovered that with the kind of business the deceased was into, I don’t think he had a history of crime.”

Continuing, Eze Nwokolo, said, “You cannot just allege that the deceased was a kidnapper because you had personal problems with the man. Taking a personal vendetta is not tantamount to the person being tagged as a kidnapper.

“We want justice to take its course. We have a government here in Rivers State and a governor who listens to us. So we wouldn’t want to do something that might be tantamount to disrupting the peace in the state knowing full well that we are over five million in Rivers State as a people.

“You cannot just kill somebody and go scot-free. So we have spoken to our people to remain calm and law-abiding that we will get justice for him. I have also spoken to the governor and he has assured me that we would get justice.

“So believing the state governor that those who are responsible for his death will be brought to book no matter who and no matter what nomenclature he carries as a police officer or whatever.

“We have seen the corpse and from our observation, he was murdered. We have also contacted a pathologist to carry out an autopsy to verify the cause of his death.

“He has two small children. His wife is in the village now, and he has an aged father and mother. He was the breadwinner of the family and took care of his family and his siblings.

“You cannot just come and switch off the bulb of a family. We won’t allow that to happen.”

Also speaking, the deceased’s younger sibling, Chibueze Abraham, expressed bitterness that his brother was arrested on January 11, 2024, but that the police denied the family and their lawyer access to him.

Chibueze further said they were informed that the matter was under investigation and that he would not be allowed to see him, but they were shocked to hear about his death on social media.

He said, “The next thing we heard was that our brother was dead. So, we went there to find out if it was true. But they (the police) did not give us access. So we wrote a petition to the IG concerning the matter. The petition was approved and taken to the office of the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, but nothing was done about the matter.

“You took the person into custody and killed him. What we want is for justice to prevail.”

The spokesperson for the state police command, Grace Iringe-Koko, in a statement, had denied that the deceased was tortured as alleged, saying he was implicated in the kidnapping, armed robbery, and cultism.

“The statement read, “The police would like to inform the public that the deceased was implicated in a case involving kidnapping, armed robbery, and cultism.

“This relates to the kidnapping of a female business tycoon (name withheld) in the Diobu area of Port Harcourt on September 7, 2023. The victim was kidnapped by five armed gunmen and taken to a hideout in Elechi waterside.

“The kidnappers were armed with AK-47 rifles, a pump-action shotgun, and locally-made pistols. The victim was held captive for seven days and was released after the victim’s family paid a ransom of N3.5m.

“She said investigations revealed that the deceased was a member of the Dey-Gbam secret cult gang and that he and his accomplices purchased one of the AK-47 rifles used during the operation.

“The case of the death of the suspect has been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department for discreet investigations to ensure a thorough and impartial examination of the circumstances surrounding this incident,” she noted.


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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