Odahiekwu Ogunde, Yenagoa
Civil Liberties Organisation, Bayelsa State branch, has threatened to sue the Federal Government and the Nigeria Police Force for keeping mute over the killing of seven serving police officers attached to the Bayelsa State Command.
The seven policemen were killed in connection with alleged robbery over two weeks ago in Ughelli, Delta State, during a gun battle with operatives of the Delta State Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
The names of the seven killed cops were given as Sgt Hitler Mumbo; Cpl Omoro Akpoebi; Cpl Oyindine Ondogha; Sgt Dieyete Joweigha; Cpl Philip Seikpo; Sgt Brown Abednego and the seventh policeman unknown.
Addressing a press conference in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, on Tuesday, Chairman of the CLO in the state, Chief Nengi James, said the organisation would sue the Federal Government and the police authorities to unravel the mystery surrounding the extra-judicial killing of the seven cops.
He alleged that since the police authorities had kept mute over the incident after two weeks, the CLO suspected that the police were concealing something, which they didn’t want the citizens to know.
He lambasted the Bayelsa and Delta State police commands for keeping mum over an incident of that magnitude, saying that their refusal to talk was curious, unthinkable and unacceptable.
James stated, “It is a well-known fact that the CLO, over the years, has stood against acts of extra-judicial killings, no matter the perpetrators or victims. And, this particular matter we are here for cannot be an exception.
“The lives of all citizens matter, no matter their state, region, origin, religion or creed, security personnel or civilians. Those of you who are abreast with the activities of the CLO would attest to the fact that the Bayelsa State branch has taken on cases of people from other states of the country resident in Bayelsa.
“In view of the current unprecedented security challenges facing Nigerians, it gives much more concern when uniformed personnel, in this case, policemen are gunned down by fellow policemen in circumstances that have been shrouded in silence from the police authorities.
“After this press conference, we will now take some steps, even legal steps. CLO has several lawyers and we are set to pursue this matter legally, and other human rights groups will start from here because it is a national issue.
“The situation is worrisome. You see what is happening in the United States because of one man that was killed by the police. Here, we are talking about seven police officers who were murdered. Whether good, bad and ugly situation, the laws and constitution of Nigeria allow victims to have fair hearing.
“Since the police authorities are mute over the issue, we are now suspecting that the authorities have something they are hiding which they don’t want people to know.”
The CLO chair called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to do the needful to ensure that the matter is not swept under the carpet.
He equally urged the Senate and House Committees on Human Rights, the National Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International, right groups and the media to play their roles on the matter.