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After collecting N300,000 for investigation, police shielding cop that killed my brother – Abia man

Posted by on November 14, 2021 0


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Thirty-two-year-old Abia pastor, Kingsley Okezie, was allegedly shot dead in August by trigger-happy policemen who came to enforce a court order. His elder brother, Prince, shares with GODFREY GEORGE the family’s pain and frustration in their bid to get justice

What is your name?

My name is Prince Okezie. I am from Agbama Olokoro, Umuahia South Local Government Area of Abia State. I am a health and safety supervisor based in Doha, Qatar. I am 37 years old. The deceased, Pastor Kingsley Okezie, was my younger brother. He was 35 years old when he died. He was also an engineer who worked on inverters.

What led to his death?

I left Nigeria on August 15 and got to Doha the next day. Nine days later (August 25, 2021), I got a voice note from my younger brother about a financial transaction I had requested him to do. I called him to get clarifications but his phone lines were not connecting. I sent him a text message, but he didn’t reply. I got a call from my friends in Nigeria asking me if I had heard about what happened. I asked them what happened and they told me my brother was shot dead by some trigger-happy policemen who came with a man to enforce a court order. I enquired to know what happened and they told me that one man in our village, Mr Godsday Okwudiri, had a land dispute with one Mr Onyeha Onuigbo, who is also from the same community. The dispute began in 2004 and was taken to the community chiefs who interved and saw that the land was not his own and that it belonged to Mr Onyeha. They told him to let go of the land, but he went to the High Court in Umuahia, where Mr Onyeha still won. I have all the documents with me. After some years, he went to the Owerri Appeal Court over the same land. Mr Onyeha did not go for the sitting because, according to him, he did not have money. So, since Mr Onyeha did not appear in court, the court gave Mr Okwudiri that piece of land. Since then, there was no development on the piece of land. So, we were surprised at how he came on the morning of August 25, with three Hilux vans full of policemen and thugs and they began breaking people’s houses and looting shops. He said he had come to take full ownership of his land. The land was around Odikpiri, Akoli in the village.

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Had the land been developed at that point?

He was no longer claiming that land he won in court. He was breaking people’s houses in the village, claiming that the court had ordered him to take possession of the piece of land. The thugs even broke into a church. I have all the videos and pictures to show this. The youths came out to stop the thugs from destroying their properties. By 9am that morning, they had broken into 10 houses.  The policemen who came with him began to shoot in the area to scare people away. They also tear-gassed the angry mob of youths.

Where was your brother at this time?

That is the most annoying part of this whole thing. He was not even part of the people. He was leaving the village back to the theology school where he had just enrolled to complete his pastoral programme. He was standing at the New Heaven Junction, waiting for a motorcycle or something and one of the policemen and thugs who accompanied Mr Okwudiri shot him.

What he hit by a stray bullet?

No, they actually shot him. I don’t know why they shot him. It still amazes me. I cannot wrap my head around it. The youths, who were protesting repelled Okwudiri and his band of policemen. It was in that frenzy that they shot my brother. Eyewitnesses confirmed that it was the police who shot my brother. He was the only one that was shot.

Did you report the case to the police?

The villagers took him to the hospital; the first hospital rejected him. On getting to the second hospital, he was confirmed dead on arrival. So, they brought his corpse back to the community.

Where were your parents when all these things were happening?

My mother is dead. My father is a pastor with Assemblies of God Church, Nkpa, Abia State. It was not close to the scene of the incident.

What happened after this?

My father was called to see what had happened. He took the corpse to the mortuary and they also went to report to the police. The police accepted that they were the ones who came for the operation, but they said they only went for a legal mission and nothing more. We wrote a petition to the AIG, Zone 9. We copied the Abia State Government, the Abia State Secretary and even the Force Headquarters, Abuja. Since then, nothing has happened. No arrests have been made.

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When your father went to report to the police, what exactly was he told?

We told them to arrest the man who came with those policemen and also show us the policeman who shot my brother, but they have been shielding him. Since that day, the man has not returned. The village youths of Agabama were so angry that they went to his house and destroyed it. We have been calling on the police to investigate the matter and take the case to court, but they have been avoiding the issue. Instead, Okwudiri went to Zone 9 to write a petition against the villagers, claiming he is being terrorised by them and waived everything about the killing of my brother. Instead of the police to talk about the murder, they wrote a letter to the village head and invited some villagers to answer to the crime Okwudiri had accused them of in his petition. He even accused the youths of kidnapping his family.

What have the police done since then?

The police refused to treat my petition which came long before that of Mr Okwudiri. They did not treat my case; they just started treating his petition. I got the phone number of the AIG in charge of Zone 9 and told him about the petition I wrote. He asked, “How can you write a petition without following it up?” He told me to send somebody to Zone 9. My dad and his brother went there to ask for what was going on with the matter. At the end of the day, after showing them the pictures and copies of the petitions, they (the police) told my father to pay N300, 000 for investigation, logistics and mobilisation. We paid N300, 000 to the police. Since then, they would call my dad and he would go to Zone 9 and they would talk and talk, and he would go back. After a few days, they would call him again and he would go. It was so stressful for the old man. He is 63 years old.

Has your late brother been buried?

No, he has not been buried. His remains are still at the mortuary and we are the ones paying. They called my dad again and said they wanted to go to the mortuary and they would have to do an autopsy. My dad called me and told me. We said no, but they told him that he must go to court and swear that the case does not concern the police anymore.

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Why is your father not interested in having an autopsy done if that would aid the investigation?

What we want is that these people be arrested first. Let us see action. My brother was shot by the police who accompanied Okwudiri. Nobody is saying anything about the issue. We have been cooperating with them, but they are playing with the case. Let them show action! We are not saying we don’t want the autopsy, but let the police show that they are interested in this case.

Who is going to pay for the autopsy?

The police are also pushing us to pay. I have told them that I would pay. They gave my dad the number of the pathologist. They said it would cost him N300, 000. I have agreed to pay, but let them arrest the killer of my brother. They invited Okwudiri in Zone 9 the last time my dad visited. He came there with some policemen who said he was the driver on the day they came on that mission. There were two police officers. Okwudiri said that it wasn’t them who fired the shots that day, that it was the villagers who did. The IPO then told my dad that he must do the autopsy first to know if it was the police who shot him or the villagers.

What exactly do you want the government to do in this case?

We want justice. Let the killer of my brother be arrested. I will bring out the money and we will do the autopsy. Let the case be taken to court. My brother cannot just die like that.

Was your brother married?

Yes, he was. He had a child. The wife is in Germany. She hasn’t come to terms with the fact that her husband is dead. All this is still like a dream to her. I don’t want to talk about their little child who would now grow up fatherless. We have no one, so we call on the government to come to our aid and help us.

Copyright PUNCH.

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