Barely six days to the Local Government elections in Ebonyi State, a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Chairmanship Candidate, Hon. Ogbonnia Oko Enyim and two others have been arrested and interrogated by men of the Nigeria Police, Force Headquarters, Abuja over allegations of murder.
Investigations showed they were still in the custody of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, Ebonyi State Command as at the time of filing this report.
The arrest followed a petition to the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (Intelligence), by the National Director of a Non-Governmental Organization, Centre for Prevention of Corruption and Human Rights Abuse Initiative, Comrade Omezue Eburu.
According to the petitioner, the incident which occurred in March 1995 involved five individuals in Amasiri, Afikpo North Local Government Area and led to the gruesome murder of one Okpara Mgbere (alias Biko Biko). It alleged that the perpetrators caused multiple cuts and abrasions on the head of the victim, the cutting-off of his testicles and the plucking out of his eyes as indicated in an attached autopsy report.
“That the five individuals were arrested and charged before the Magistrate Court of (then) Abia State sitting in Afikpo with charge No: MAF/44/95: COP V Eze Mbe and 4 others. That ever since the accused persons were charged before the Magistrate Court, the father of the 2nd accused, Omezue Oko Enyim used his close relationship with the then DPP, Afikpo, Mr. Eleke, to stall the case, and ceased prosecution till date”, the petition alleged.
The two counts in the Charge sheet states: “That you, Eze Mbe (m) alias Eze Aja (m), Enyim Oko Enyim (m), Samuel Osim alias Okenwoke (m), Felix Oko Udu (m) and Eze Uga (m) on the 10th day of March 1995 at Ihie Agbor Amasiri in the Afikpo Magisterial District did conspire among yourselves to commit felony to wit; Murder and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 324 of the Criminal Code Cap. 30, Volume II, Laws of Eastern Nigeria, 1963, amended by Section 3 (a) of the Criminal Code amendment Edict No. 5 of 1971 as applicable in Abia State of Nigeria.
“That you, Eze Mbe, alias Eze Aja (m), Enyim Oko Enyim (m), Samuel Osim, alias Okenwoke (m), Felix Oko Udu (m) and Eze Uga (m) on the aforesaid place and Magisterial District did unlawfully kill Okpara Mgbere alias Biko Biko and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 319 of the Criminal Code Cap 30 Volume II, Laws of Eastern Nigeria, 1963 as applicable in Abia State of Nigeria”, it stated.
The petitioners while appealing for justice, further alleged that the second accused person, Enyim, Oko Enyim as an influential politician in Ebonyi State who was the Acting Care-Taker Chairman of Afikpo North LGA until he resigned a few days ago to contest the forthcoming Local Government elections in Ebonyi State has continued to use his influence as a top politician to prevent justice in the matter.
Speaking in an interview after making statements over the weekend at the Ebonyi Police Command Headquarters where the suspects were taken into custody, awaiting their transfer to Abuja, the widow of the deceased, Mrs. Mercy Okpara who passionately pleaded for justice said her children were yet small when her husband was murdered and only her husband’s relatives have been fighting for justice to be meted out to the alleged perpetrators.
“Because they (the accused persons) were richer than our family, they have been using their money and influence in society to ‘bury’ the matter and thwart police investigations. But my children have grown now and decided to take up the matter. And that is why they brought me to the police to make statement that my husband was killed and it was Ogbonnia Oko Enyim that is the principal suspect because he was the person that came to our house and called out my husband that his father wanted to see him and he followed him. That was the last time we saw him. The next thing was that we found his dead body and some of his body parts removed”, she alleged, while calling on all stakeholders to ensure that justice prevailed.
When contacted, Police Public Relations Officer of the Command, DSP Jude Madu said his findings from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS in the State showed that the erstwhile Council boss was ‘invited’, interrogated and reportedly released on the strength of a petition being investigated by a SARS team from the Force Headquarters, Abuja.
Meanwhile, six stakeholders from Amasiri community have appealed to the Governor of the State, Engr. David Umahi and the PDP not to field Hon. Oko Enyim as a candidate of the Party for Afikpo North LGA in this Saturday’s Local Government election. In a protest letter to the Governor and the DPP dated 27th March, 2017 and signed by a group of six Concerned stakeholders from the community, the group said it will be an ‘abomination’ to enthrone such a person who has allegedly been involved in continued abuse of office and privileges and overt flagrant violation of human rights as it reflected that time does not run against crime, hence the matter can be called up any moment.