SARS déjà vu? – Latest Nigeria News, Nigerian Newspapers, Politics


Hardball

A traditional ruler in Enugu State was recently killed by armed men who claimed to be policemen, raising the spectre of operational abuses by the discredited and now disbanded Special Ant-Robbery Squad (SARS). The police high command had replaced SARS with the Special Weapon Tactical Team (SWAT).

The traditional ruler of Oruku community in Nkanu East council area, Igwe Emmanuel Mba, was shot on 26th December by purported policemen from Force Headquarters, Abuja, while presiding over a townhall meeting by his community members. Reports said the armed men, allegedly led by one Inspector Danladi, had stormed the meeting venue in an SUV and a Sienna Bus at about 4.30 p.m., asking to see the royal father. They were said to have been accompanied by three natives, who pointed out the monarch as he addressed the townspeople, upon which one of the ‘policemen’ immediately shot him on the thigh and he fell down bleeding. The bleeding royal father and a member of the community named Agozie Ani were whisked off from the townhall by the armed men, who also attempted arresting  some other townsfolk at the meeting. They reportedly took Igwe Mba to Parklane Hospital, Enugu, but he could not be admitted there due to lack of bed space; they were then referred to the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Enugu, but on arrival there doctors at the emergency unit confirmed the royal father dead. His corpse was deposited at the National Orthopaedic Hospital mortuary, while the fate of Ani remained unknown.

Checks by some community leaders at the state police command headquarters to ascertain the identity and mission of the purported policemen-assailants drew blank, as they were told there was no entry made regarding the operation at any police station. Consequently, aggrieved members of Oruku community regrouped Saturday evening and attacked the homes of some indigenes believed to have masterminded the traditional ruler’s killing. Four houses were razed.

Enugu State Police Commissioner Ahmad Abdurrahman ordered full-scale investigation of the incident, according to command spokesman Daniel Ndukwe who quoted the Commissioner as saying the command would  “meticulously investigate and bring perpetrators of the alleged murder and the ensuing acts of violence to book,” and urging community members to remain calm.

Local accounts said the slain Mba was chosen traditional ruler by his community on 26th December, 2019; hence it isn’t altogether beyond contemplation that lingering feuding  over the royal stool might have motivated some contenders enlist lethal force by the armed men – a tendency evocative of how some civilians buy the support of armed agents to tyrannise fellow civilians over local disagreements. The natives who reportedly pointed out Mba at the townhall meeting should be in a position to shed light on where the armed men came from and what their mission involved. This is a case where the police must not fail to fish out the armed assailants, otherwise it would be under suspicion of knowingly harbouring rouge agents.

 


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