The crowd outside the Chief Magistrate Court 4 in Port Harcourt erupted in wide jubilation on Tuesday. Chief Magistrate, Promise Iroanya, had ordered the remand of three ex-policemen and one ex-policewoman in Nigerian Correctional Services custody after the cops pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, attempted murder and torture of five auto-mechanics in Port Harcourt last December.
The accused ex-police officers are: Ayogu Fidelis, Eke Chibuzor, Egbunefu Felix and Rose Georgewill. Georgewill, who was the head of the unit was said to have squeezed the testicles of the deceased while he was tied and hung on a rope during the torture session.
The accused persons were personnel of the Eagle Crack (E-Crack) Unit of the Mile One Police Station, who in December last year tortured to death one Chima Ikwunador and attempted the murder of Ifeanyi Onyekwere, who they hung upside down for three hours and inflicted machete and club blows on him.
The former police personnel were also charged for conspiracy and torture of three other mechanics, namely Ogbonna Victor, Ifeanyi Osuji and Osaze Friday.
The mechanics had been arrested by the police personnel for allegedly driving against traffic in Port Harcourt and taken to the detention centre of the E-Crack Unit where they were tortured to confess to have stolen the car in which they were caught. It was during the torture that Chima died. The police later charged them to court for armed robbery and theft.
The mass protest in Port Harcourt that greeted the death of Chima and the maltreatment of the other mechanics forced the police to withdraw charges against the mechanics and the police to carry out orderly room trial of the police personnel.
The four officers were dismissed from service on Monday after the orderly room trial indicted them and they were charged to court on Tuesday.
When the matter came up on Tuesday, Chief Magistrate Promise Iroanya, ordered that the case file to be transferred to the Department of Publication Prosecution for legal advice since the court lacked jurisdiction to try the charges on murder and attempted murder.
Counsel to the four mechanics, Princess Lawrence, complained that two of the officers involved in the torture were not arraigned.
The Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, said with the dismissal and subsequent trial of the ex-police officers showed that the Command had zero tolerance for abuse of human rights and torture by its officers and men.
He appealed to the public to always repose confidence in the police and provide the force with useful information.Follow Us on Social Media
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