Gideon Dominics, the relative of a suspected member of the Indigenous People of Biafra and the Eastern Security Network, Elvis Okafor, has called on the police to release him, saying he is being framed up.
According to Dominics, the 23-year-old was arrested on Sunday, August 1, 2021, at the Afo Okporo Market in the Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State, branded an IPOB member and paraded at the police command headquarters.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the victim left his house to buy foodstuffs in the market before he was allegedly beaten up and arrested alongside two other persons.
Dominics had raised the alarm after searching for his cousin to no avail and later saw his photograph on Facebook while being paraded alongside 15 others with different locally-made guns.
Dominics, in a post on Facebook, said, “This is my little cousin, Elvis Okafor; have you seen how dramatic Nigeria is? A little boy that went to buy foodstuffs for his sick mum is now a member of IPOB?
“A boy that came back from church and hasn’t eaten anything is now brandishing a gun as an ESN member? You see the Nigerian magic? Is this how innocent people are being framed daily?
“My kid brother has been arrested in Orlu by the Nigeria Police Force. And yet, we have no glimpse of his whereabouts till now; a boy that went to buy foodstuffs for his sick mom yesterday (August 1).”
Speaking in a telephone interview with PUNCH Metro on Sunday, Dominics said he could vouch for the young school leaver that he had nothing to do with IPOB or ESN.
He expressed surprise that while the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mike Abattam, maintained that Okafor was not in the command’s custody, he (Abattam) posted a photograph of a group of persons, including his cousin, paraded with guns on Facebook.
He said, “I asked the police PRO if Elvis (Okafor) was brought there. But he said no person like that was with them. Elvis is about 23 years old. He is a very quiet person.
“I later went home and opened the PPRO’s Facebook page. It was then I noticed that he posted the picture of my brother, describing him and others as IPOB/ESN operatives that the police arrested. I was angry and called him several times on the phone until he responded.
“I told him that my brother was innocent and should not be paraded. I asked him that if Elvis was his son and he (Elvis) was paraded, how would he feel? I told him to have conscience, but he cut the call on me.
“The boy’s mother is seriously ill. She is mentally challenged. It happened after the death of her husband. The most important thing for me now is to get her son out of the police cell.”
The police spokesman, Abattam, while reacting to the allegation, said people should allow the police to do their investigation.
“Investigation will vindicate the innocent. The state Commissioner of Police, Abutu Yaro, is committed to justice,” he said.
Court Sentences Dismissed Sergeant to Death by Hanging for Killing Driver over N100
A High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has sentenced a dismissed police sergeant, James Imhalu, to death by hanging for the murder of a commercial driver in 2015 over his refusal to pay a bribe of N100.
Justice Elsie Thompson, while delivering her judgment, said evidence before the court showed that the sacked sergeant intentionally fired a shot at the commercial driver, Legbara David, at Whimpey Junction, Port Harcourt.
Justice Thompson described Imhalu as a serial trigger-happy policeman who should not be allowed to remain in the society.
The prosecution counsel, Kingsley Briggs, said the judgement would serve as succour to the deceased’s family.
“Although the will of justice grinds slowly, surely justice will come.
“For the family of those that lost their breadwinner, it is quite unfortunate. But I believe this judgement will serve as succour to the family,” he stated.
On his part, a representative of the Legal Aid Council in Rivers State, who defended the sergeant, Mr Awaji, said his team would study the judgement to know the next line of action.
He said, “Today’s judgement I will say is justice for the people of Rivers State.
“Despite the fact that I represented the defendant, my analysis of the case when I came into the matter, I would say, I saw it coming.
“Having listened to the judgement, currently, there is no plan to go on appeal. But by the time we look at the judgement in-depth, perhaps we will find grounds for appeal. But as it is, there is no plan to go on appeal.”
LASTMA Denies Involvement in Burning of Bus, Warns Against Attack on Personnel
The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has denied reports making the rounds that its personnel were involved in the burning of a bus at the Obanikoro bus stop, Ikorodu Road. The Authority, while asking residents to desist from attacking LASTMA officials, stated that the report was the handiwork of an uninformed blogger.
Buttressing the facts of the matter in a statement signed by the Asst. Director, Public Affairs, Filade Olumide, and made available to the National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP), the Authority hinted that “LASTMA Management after due diligence on the video, sympathise with the vehicle owner, but categorically deny complicity of any of its officers in the incidence portrayed on the video” while regretting that “…one of the LASTMA patrol officers offering helping hand with the burning vehicle was severely injured by uncalled-for mob action which seems to be occurring nowadays at the slightest alarm.”
The statement also condemned the shallow portrayal of the allegation as the picture evidence did not depict the allegation against its officials.
“The video report lacked pictorial evidence of LASTMA officers’ complicity; those interviewed were neither eye witnesses nor people directly involved in the incident, rather, they were people living within the inside street, close to the scene of the incidence on Ikorodu Road. Their evidences were hear-says’ and limited to after the arrival of security agencies officials to maintain law and order, after attacks on one of the LASTMA officials and also the Fire Fighters that were there to render assistance in putting out the fire in the vehicle,” the statement read.
It added that:
“LASTMA officials do not operate within side street and over time, the State Government has announced zero tolerance to attack on its officials while performing their duties as enshrined in the laws or as directed.
“We wish to reiterate that LASTMA personnel must not be attacked/assaulted while performing their duties or rendering service to the public.
“The LASTMA management also use this opportunity to advise reporters/bloggers to endeavour to conduct proper investigation and present facts rather than sentiments in their reportage for a peaceful and orderly society.”
Ondo Amotekun Arrests Suspected Masterminds of Owo Church Massacre
The Ondo State Security Network Agency, codenamed “Amotekun Corps” has confirmed that some suspects have been arrested in connection with the terrorist attack on St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo.
The suspected terrorists invaded the church on June 5, killing no fewer than 40 people and injuring many other worshippers.
The state Commander of Amotekun, Adetunji Adeleye, on Thursday said some suspects had been arrested in connection with the killing.
He stated this while parading some 71 men who were arrested for various criminal activities across the state.
The Amotekun boss said, “As regards the Owo incident, we have recovered the last vehicle they used for that operation and we made some arrests, and we have also recovered some vital things which we are working on.
“A number of people have been arrested concerning the Owo issue as well as a number of equipment. On that day, we pursued them to the point that we recovered the vehicle and we are still pursuing them. We have told you that until we get to the root, I can assure you that the perpetrators and their sponsors will be brought to book.”
On the 71 suspected criminals paraded at the headquarters of the command in Akure, the state capital, Adeleye explained that the suspects were arrested within the last one month for various offenses ranging from armed robbery, cattle rustling, kidnapping, raping, fraud and human trafficking.
“The 71 suspects were picked while committing offences and others were tracked to their hideouts in the forests. We have been able to get a cartel that specialises in stealing and dismantling motorbikes which we all know as okada. Also, we were able to recover over 50 bikes during the operation from these criminals.
“We also got reports from some herdsmen that their cattle were stolen. We went after them and brought the cows back to the Fulani herdsmen that owned the cow. We have a group of small boys who are under 18-year old that turned themselves into a cartel of criminals in a particular local government in Ondo State and armed themselves. They actually belong to a cult group called ‘Agbado’. We were able to arrest 12 out of the 17 members.
“We have about three to four suspected kidnappers and we intend to take most of these suspects, especially the ones we have concluded their investigations to the DPP and for their onward prosecution in court.”
He assured the people of the state that the corps would not rest on its oars until it rids the state of criminal elements, saying, “there is no hiding place for them. They turned the heat on us and we have also turned the heat on them.”