At least seven policemen, including a Divisional Police Officer, James Ekpeta, have been arrested and detained by the Kogi State Police Command in connection with the killing of three persons in Ejegbo, Ankpa Local Government Area of the state.
The victims: Julius Maha, 33; Emmanuel (his cousin) 35, and one of their friends were allegedly killed by policemen from the Ankpa division of the Nigerian Police Force who stormed their home in the early hours of Thursday, June 23, 2016.
Police homicide team had obtained the statement of an alleged kidnap victim, Hajiya Aishatu Abubakar, who confirmed to the police that the three deceased persons were not those who attempted to kidnap her.
The investigation of the killing was sequel to a petition by the family’s lawyer, Mr. Tony Ejumejowo, to the Kogi State Commissioner of Police.
A source told Newsmen that “The police, on the instructions of the then commissioner (Emmanuel Ojukwu), before his transfer, swung into action. The matter is being investigated by the homicide department.
“The police command had visited the Ankpa community and had interrogated about seven policemen, including the DPO and the medical doctor who allegedly issued a coroner’s report.
“From the police records, preliminary investigation revealed that the DPO and one other officer were the persons in the division who fired their guns that day.
“There was a meeting of the Deputy Commissioner of Police and the CID with the family representatives and their lawyers.
“In attendance were the homicide team investigating the incident; the DPO of Ankpa division, James Ekpeta, and an Assistant Superintendent of Police, Eteng Mbang.
“I can confirm to you that the DPO and the ASP, who is the Head of Patrol and Guard at the Ankpa division were detained on the orders of the DCP, after listening to the DPO’s account of the incident. The DCP said he was not satisfied with the accounts.”
Kogi State Police Command spokesman, Mr. Ovye Williams, confirmed the arrests and detention, but said investigations were still on.
The DPO was said to have in his statement claimed that he got an anonymous call informing him that a kidnap gang responsible for a failed abduction attempt two days earlier, were going out for another operation and he was given the deceased’s address as their hideout.
He reportedly admitted that he personally led a patrol team that night but ordered the team to wait behind while only he and the ASP advanced and engaged them by killing the three persons who had locally-made pistols in their various pockets.
The DPO was also reported to have claimed that he believed some others who had rifles escaped.