Authorities of the Nigeria Police Force have been asked to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death in police custody of 30-year old Chinonso Omeh, who was arrested by police over a complaint of threat to life.
It was gathered that the late Chinonso was arrested by the Ogidi Police station on 4th February 2022 and handed over to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Annex, Awkuzu formerly known as SARS.
The family of the deceased had made several efforts to contact the deceased at the former SARS facility but Police denied having him in their custody, until they raised a petition to the 13th Zonal Police Command, Ukpo.
Following the petition, the IPO in charge of the case at Ogidi Police station who first effected the arrest confirmed that they handed the late Chinonso over to the CID annex.
After interrogation, the Awkuzu Police men admitted that they had the young man in their custody but he slumped and died in their cell but they did not make any effort to contact the family.
TNC correspondent in Anambra gathered that when the family demanded for the body of the deceased, the Awkuzu CID men quickly arranged with a private mortician and presented the body of a 70-year old man that does not have any resemblance with the deceased as the corpse.
Chairman of the Civil Liberty Organization in the Southeast, Comrade Aloysius Attah who followed the case, said it has become pertinent that Police authority wade into the matter to ensure that justice is done.
“This was simply a case of a youngman who operates a car wash facility at Ogbunike tollgate, who was arrested on the complaint of one Austin, a manager of a company within that axis.
“That Austin was looking for someone and called Chinonso to help him with the contact.
“After Chinonso obliged him with the contact without knowing that he wanted to arrest the person, he came back to arrest him because Chinonso was very angry that he was not informed that he was looking for the contact over a case.
“The said Austin now made another case of threat to his life against Chinonso and Chinonso was picked up and taken to Awkuzu SARS since February this year,” Attah disclosed.
Attah regretted that there is no change whatsoever in the operations of the State CID annex Awkuzu, as they still perpetrate the same killings and inhuman treatments for which SARS was disbanded.
“Following the 2020 ENDSARS protest, the Nigeria Police Force disbanded the notorious entire SARS across the country.
“The SARS office at Awkuzu was said to have been disbanded and the name changed to State CID annex.
“However, it is important for the authorities to know that they only did a change of name but they have become more crude in their approach to policing.
“They operate without adherence to the sanctity of human lives and respect for human rights.
“In fact they still address themselves as SARS operatives and even the Officer-in-Charge (OC) there stil addresses himself as OC SARS,” the human rights activist noted.
He said the Omeh family is at a loss as to what happened to their son- whether he died in police cell or used for ritual.
Attah said; “Now that they cannot locate the corpse, they are asking for justice.
“And that is why human rights groups and all men of good conscience have waded into the matter to ensure that justice is availed the family and that the true situation surrounding the man’s death (if he is actually dead) is made available.
“We are also calling on the Police hierarchy to ensure that all police operatives involved in the entire matter will be punished according to the provisions of the law.”
Meanwhile, when the Anambra Police Public Relations Officer, Tochukwu Ikenga was contacted, he said the complaint has been received since and case is currently under investigation.