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Four Police officers held in Port Harcourt prison over alleged murder, torture of four others

A Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, on Tuesday remanded four police officers in the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre for alleged murder of one Chime Ikwunador and torture of four other victims in their custody.

The accused persons, Ayogu Fidelis, Eke Chibuzor, Egbunefu Felix and Rose Georgewill, who are officers operatives of Eagle Crack Squad, (a unit of the State Police Command) are facing seven count charges bothering on conspiracy, murder, attempted murder, causing harm by hanging one of the victim upside-down and flogging him and assault.

The matter which is before Chief Magistrate Promise Iroanya, is registered in suit Number PMC/828c/2020.

The accused persons, before being arraigned in court, have been dismissed from the Police Force after a thorough investigation by the State Police Command. They allegedly committed the crime within the period of December 19 – 29, 2019.

Parts of the counts reads: “That you Ayogu Fidelis, Eke Chibuzor, Egbunefu Felix and Rose Georgewill within the period of 19th  December, 2019 through 29th December, 2019  at Eagle Crack Office Mile 1 Diobu, Port Harcourt in the Port Harcourt Magisterial District did conspire amongst yourselves to commit an offence punishable under Section 324 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37, Vol. II, Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999.

“That you Ayogu Fidelis, Eke Chibuzor, Egbunefu Felix and Rose Georgewill in the same date and place in the aforesaid Magisterial District did murder one Chima Ikwunador by torturing him to death and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 319 (1) of the Criminal Code, Cap 37, Vol. II, Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999.

“That you Ayogu Fidelis, Eke Chibuzor, Egbunefu Felix  in the same date and place in the aforesaid Magisterial District did attempt to murder one Ifeanyi Onyenkwere by turning him upside-down and hanged him more than three hours while flogging him with woods and machete at every part of his body and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 320 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37, Vol. II, Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999.

“That you Ayogu Fidelis, Eke Chibuzor, Egbunefu Felix  in the same date and place in the aforesaid Magisterial District did unlawfully assault one Osaze Friday by torturing and beating him all over his body and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 351 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37, Vol. II, Laws of Rivers State Nigeria, 1999.”

When the charge was read before the accused persons they pleaded not guilty.

The prosecution counsel in the matter, Romeo Queensoap, a Legal Counsel with the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) told the court that the accused persons were arraigned after a thorough investigation on the matter.

He said it was after the investigation that they arrived at the number of suspects in court on the case.

Earlier, Barr Princess C. Lawrence, who is holding brief for the complainants in the matter, mentioned to the court that the Police did not arraign all the suspects in the crime.

She said that it would be unjust if some persons who were part of the torturing of the victims will escape the wrath of law for the offence committed.

Also, in his submission, Mr David Abuo, counsel for the female dismissed Officer and 1st accused, pleaded with the court to urge the media to save his female client from media trial.

Meanwhile, in his ruling, the trial Magistrate, Promise Iroanya, after going through the charge, said his court lacks jurisdiction to hear the matter in count 1, 2 and 3 but have jurisdiction from count 4 – 7.

Iroanya stated “it is my final view that all the entire counts be directed to the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) for the right court to hear the matter”.

He therefore, directed that the case file be sent to DPP for legal advice and ordered for the remand of the accused persons in the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre.

The matter was adjourned till September 8, 2020 for legal advise.

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