…Police Present 70 Year Old Man’s Corpse to Family
By Jude Atupulazi
Family members of Chinonso Omeh have cried out for justice over the alleged killing of Chinonso while under police custody at the defunct Awkuzu SARS, now renamed State CID Annex.
Onyebuchi Omeh, elder brother to Chinonso, who raised the alarm while addressing journalists in Onitsha earlier in the week, said his younger brother, Chinonso, 30, who operated a car wash centre at Ogbunike, former Toll Gate, was arrested on 4th February, 2022, at the instance of one Austin Izunnwanne on trumped up charges of threat to life.
He said Chinonso was detained at Ogidi Police Station before his transfer to Awkuzu but police at Awkuzu denied them access to see him in the cell and even initially denied ever having him in their custody.
He disclosed that after repeated attempts to see him at Awkuzu State CID Annex failed, they wrote a petition to the AIG in charge of Zone 13, Ukpo, Anambra State, through a lawyer and the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) at Ogidi, was summoned who gave a graphic account of how, when and whom he handed Chinonso over to at Awkuzu.
He said when the team from Awkuzu was also summoned to Zone 13 Ukpo, they confessed that Chinonso was in their custody but was dead, having slumped in their cell and later pronounced dead by a medical doctor.
Onyebuchi disclosed that when they requested to see his corpse, they were taken to a private mortuary and shown the corpse of a 70-year old man in place of their brother, Chinonso.
Onyebuchi alleged that the police at Awkuzu State CID Annex might have killed his brother and used him for ritual purposes since they could not produce his corpse.
He said the last time they had an appointment with the police team investigating the matter at Zone 13, Ukpo, they were totally surprised to hear that the two policemen from Awkuzu, the IPO, Michael Nelson and his team leader known as Big Sam, who handled their brother’s matter and earlier detained over the case, had been released and were now walking freely.
While calling for justice over the matter, the family insisted that the police should come clean and tell them what happened to their brother and also show them the corpse if he was actually dead; even as they called on various human rights bodies to assist them in ensuring that those involved in what they described as a heinous crime did not escape the wrath of the law.
The Zonal Command Police Public Relations Officer, Zone 13, Ukpo, Nkiruka Nwode, when contacted, said she had not been briefed on the extent of investigation on the matter but promised to make enquiries and act accordingly.