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KILLED OVER N20: She was shot on the buttocks by trigger-happy policemen and bled to death

Posted by By NWABUEZE OKONKWO, Onitsha on 2006/05/17 | Views: 835 |

KILLED OVER N20: She was shot on the buttocks by trigger-happy policemen and bled to death


The fate of three policemen attached to Fegge Police Station, Onitsha, Anambra State is now hanging in the balance as homicide detectives attached to the state Criminal Investigations Department (CID) are now interrogating them for allegedly killing a 22-year old girl, Miss Nkechi Obidiegwu.

The fate of three policemen attached to Fegge Police Station, Onitsha, Anambra State is now hanging in the balance as homicide detectives attached to the state Criminal Investigations Department (CID) are now interrogating them for allegedly killing a 22-year old girl, Miss Nkechi Obidiegwu.

Miss Obidiegwu, according to an eye-witness, was killed by a supposed stray bullet allegedly fired by the suspected police officers at Balonwu Street, off Zik's Avenue, near the Fegge Police Station, Onitsha on Tuesday, April 25, 2006. The girl was returning from a school where she was undergoing computer training, at about 2.30 p.m.

According to the source, the detained policemen, are among the eight officers who wereposted to Balonwu Street that black Tuesday when Nkechi was shot.

The source revealed that the policemen had aimed and shot at a commercial motorcyclist, who was carrying some load, for refusing to give them N20 bribe. Unfortunately, one of the bullets missed the target and allegedly hit Nkechi's buttock. She died shortly after she was rushed to a nearby hospital.
Confirming the arrest of the officers, Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of the state CID, Alhaji Muhammed Katsina, told Daily Sun that "the three officers were held because of grievious allegations against them on the matter, and full investigation of the killing has commenced."

Katsina further confirmed that the cops’ "rifles had been recovered, to be sent to Lagos for ballistic tests to check whether or not it was their gun that actually shot Nkechi dead," as, according to him, "the suspects are denying the allegation."

Daily Sun gathered that both the ballistic and the autopsy tests of the late Nkechi are expected to be carried out soon, to enable the command determine the fate of the suspects.
Mrs. Edna Ugbebor (CSP), Fegge Divisional Police Officer (DPO), had initially confirmed the killing of the late Nkechi, but denied police involvement in the act.

Mr. Moses Anegbode, the Anambra State Police Commissioner, also confirmed that investigation had begun over the incident, adding that the suspects would face 'orderly room trial'.
The incident had come barely two days after the police commissioner directed all the Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) to stop sending policemen out to extort money or harass innocent citizens carrying out their legitimate businesses in the state.
However, Mrs. Chinedu Obiekwe, the elder sister to the deceased, told journalists that, "all available evidence about the girl's killing point to the police."

Obiekwe, who said Nkechi had been living with her shortly after her West African Certificate Examinations in 2003, said that the police killed the girl. She told journalists who visited the family compound at 27 Ilorin Street, Fegge, Onitsha, that her deceased sister left home for the lesson that morning hale and hearty, but bled to death in a hospital later same day.

She said that Nkechi, who hailed from Isuofia town in Aguata Local Government Council of Anambra State, was a "loveable person till her untimely death", adding that a "Good Samaritan, who took the girl to the hospital, came to our house to inform me of the incident, but she had given up the ghost then in hospital."

Mrs. Obiekwe, a nursing mother said: "Before the Good Samaritan’s visit, a man asked me to go and take a look at an injured person beside the Abigail Nursery and Primary School near the Onitsha South council headquarters to confirm if it was my sister. When I called her cell phone number, it could not go through.

"I called her cell phone number again. A man answered the call and told me that the owner of the phone was hospitalised at the White Chapel Hospital in the area with a bullet wound. I met another man who confirmed that he was coming from the hospital to inform me of the incident,’’ Obiekwe said.
She said that the man heard the policemen threatening to shoot the motorcyclist if he refused to stop adding that the man confirmed that there was a gunshot, from which the stray bullet hit the innocent girl on the back hip after piercing through her hand.

According to her, "my dead sister would not have bled to death if the Fegge Police Station had responded promptly when we went to the station to get a police report demanded by the hospital."
"When the helpers got to the hospital, the doctors demanded a police report before treatment, but the police initially refused to assist. The report was issued after one and half hours argument between the two parties. Within that period, she had lost so much blood and died,’’ she said.

Obiekwe said that the corpse of the deceased had been deposited at the General Hospital, Onitsha.
Mr. Odera Ezeike, an uncle to the deceased vowed that the family would take every legal step against the culprits.

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