|Derek Maurice Ben (DD), killed by the police|
CrossRiverWatch investigations have revealed how some notorious policemen who specialize in killing detainees sell their bodies to the anatomy department of UNICAL for 11,000 each.
The latest is the gruesome murder of four boys accused of armed robbery, a taxi driver and another innocent boy extra-judicially by four policemen attached to the Special Anti Robbery Squad in Calabar.
An investigative panel constituted by the AIG Zone 6, indicted the four policemen for murdering the boys but top politicians in the state are said to be mounting pressure on the AIG to bury the matter and let the murderous cops go free.
Like the rolling scenes of a season movie, the events began in April 16, 2014, when Mr. Bassey Eyo Mkpang and Bassey Etim Edet both residents of Calabar South, went to Akpabuyo LGA to mark the remembrance of Mr. Bassey Mkpang’s late son who died the same day a year earlier.
On their way back they decided to stop for a drink in a guest house at Ikot Offiong where they stayed till about 10pm when the owner of the place was set to return to Calabar and they pleaded for a lift in his car and he accepted.
|Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, Inspector General of Police|
While on their way back to Calabar, immediately after the bridge before the Navy Barracks, at a bad spot between the bridge and the Navy barracks, they noticed touch light flashes into their car and another car they were following and saw some policemen from the State Anti Robbery Squad, SARS, State Police Headquarters Calabar.
The policemen ordered them to come out immediately which they obeyed and that began the journey to the land of no return for the occupants of the second car which they were following.
In written statements by Mr. Bassey Eyo Mkpang and Bassey Etim Edet, obtained by CrossRiverWatch from the Police, they alleged that the policemen immediately pounced on all of them and they were thoroughly beaten after ordering them to lie on the ground. Thereafter, the policemen allegedly ordered everybody into their Hilux van and drove to their office (state police headquarters), where they both were able to identify the policemen as Edidiong, Inspector Gershom Isotu, Sgt. Tony Idoko, Cpl. Ewa and others, who ordered them out of the Hilux van into their office where they were beaten again and immediately tagged cultists which they protested but the policemen remained undeterred and threw ten of them into the cell.
At about 11pm that night, the policemen came with torch light pointing on their faces and took out five out of the ten and kept them aside including a commercial taxi driver plying Akpabuyo road.
Then the other five were kept in a room in the SARS Office. While at about 12:00am of the 17th April 2014 those five kept aside were taken out with their hands tied to their back.
According to the statements, when SARS men came back, one of them approached them in their cell, pointed light on his blood stained cloth and told them “when you go back do thanksgiving that others we took out have been wasted, and they have been sent on a long journey.”
While another SARS official was insisting that it will be risky releasing them, that they should also be killed. But they were lucky not to have also been killed and they were released on the 18th April on bail for ten thousand Naira each without telling them the nature of their offence.
SARS later framed-up a story that they had an encounter with armed robbers on Saturday 19th April 2014, they claimed they killed five of the robbers as contained in Monday April 21st, vol. 38 no. 20,644 copy of Punch Newspaper page 5.
One of the five persons called out by Sgt. Tony Idoko, who was also killed is “DD” (Derek Maurice Ben), who is Sgt. Idoko’s acquaintance and son of a widow who was arrested by Sgt Idoko on April 16, 2014 and taken to the station for no particular reason.
When CrossRiverWatch contacted Derek’s mother, Enoh Maurice Enang, from whom we got the lead to this investigation, she said: “Sgt. Anthony Idoko promised to label my son a cultist or robber and deal with him. My son is not of questionable character and had never been detained in any Police Station nor have any matter with the Police anywhere. Sgt Anthony Idoko of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad plotted my son Derek’s murder.”
“When I confronted Sgt. Idoko about the threat statement he made against my son Derek, Sgt Anthony Idoko said his annoyance was that I did not accept his 2nd wife when he brought her for a formal introduction and that I am behind his being dis-fellowshipped from the Church of Christ, Parliamentary Road, Calabar.
“I reported Sgt Anthony Idoko and Ekpenyong Akom to two Senior Police Officers informally; Sgt Anthony Idoko and Ekpenyong Akom connived together and dealt inhumanly with different members of my family. Ekpenyong Akom became grieved when I knew he was behind the taking over of my land at Odukpani LGA without adequate compensation.
“I was issued with a certificate of occupancy, Local Government Area local planning authority site analysis report in addition with the council authority building plan approval for a portion of land measuring an area of 2771.305 square meters along Calabar-Itu Highway with a building of eight bedrooms and a parlor that was about 85% completed.
“Till today my neighbors I shared boundaries in between are in peaceful occupation of their building without any intermeddler. This I took in good faith and allowed the land and the building to go for peace to reign. Yet Sgt Anthony Idoko and Ekpenyong Akom connived together and dealt inhumanly with different members of my family. Sgt Anthony Idoko used his position as a serving member of the Police and murdered my innocent son he earlier promised to deal with.”
Not getting any information about her son’s where about, Mrs. Enang constituted a search team to look for her missing son.
A CrossRiverWatch undercover reporter who joined the search team to the SARS Office said the search team was asked to show Derek’s picture which they did and the officer’s including Mr. Etim (2 i/c SARS), Inspector Gershom Isotu and others claimed they don’t know Derek nor anything about his where about.
Mrs. Enang said she later called Sgt Anthony Idoko severally but Sgt Idoko did not take his calls. She sent series of text messages and Sgt Anthony Idoko neither denied nor replied. In the State SARS office, the search team was referred to the Zonal SARS at Zone 6 Calabar and the officers there said they did not know Derek.
Still in search of Derek at the court premises on the 22nd April 2014, Derek’s sister met with Sgt Anthony Idoko and inquired of her brother, she also asked him if he did not see the mother’s calls and messages. Sgt Anthony Idoko accepted he saw them, and Derek’s sister asked him why he decided to be silent over the matter “Hope you have not killed my brother?” she asked! And Sgt. Anthony Idoko said even if he killed him that the Commissioner of Police has given him the authority to kill anybody.
SARS were silent about Derek’s where about until his mother disclosed to a Police Inspector in the State Security Advisers Office that the location of Derek’s phone was traced to SARS Office.
Mrs. Enang decided to petition the AIG Zone 6, Musa Dauda on the 23rd April 2014.
The AIG who also was suspicious of the way and manner the police labeled the deceased robbers and summarily killed them and were refusing to let families see their bodies immediately set up a panel to investigate the matter.
The committee have duly completed their work and written a report indicting the policemen for extra judicial killing and recommended their prosecution.
|The car the police alleged was used for the ‘robbery’|
In the course of the investigation which was closely followed by CrossRiverWatch, the SARS authorities repeatedly refused to allow investigators access to the anatomy department of UNICAL where the bodies were lodged.
On three occasions when investigators visited the anatomy department, the Chief Mortuary Attendant first denied the bodies were there and when he noticed the order was from the AIG, he kept insisting that he needed authority from ‘somewhere’ before he can grant access.
The AIG summoned the O/C SARS and specifically instructed that he wanted his investigating team to be given access to the bodies.
On arrival at the anatomy department, again the chief mortuary attendant was still hesitant but the Investigating Police Officer, IPO from Zone 6 who could no longer take the pranks of the chief mortuary attendant threatened to break open the morgue forcefully if his team was not granted access.
It was at that point that the team was granted access to see the bodies. The same bodies the police and the anatomy department kept denying were not with them and that they knew nothing about.
On examination, it was discovered that the victims were shot in three places in the same position on the thorax at the region of the heart debunking the claim of the police that the victims were armed robbers who died in a gun duel with the SARS men.
The KIA Picanto car which the police also claimed was used by the ‘robbers’ also did not bear any evidence considering that the police said they shot the robbers in their car.
It was also discovered that the taxi driver also had to be killed because the SARS men did not want him to go and tell the story.
The investigating team having completed their work and written a report, CrossRiverWatch asked the police authorities in Zone 6 why they are not taking the matter to court.
A senior police source who did not want to be named told us that: “We have sent a copy of the report to the Attorney General of the State, Attah Ochinke on demand. We expect him to do the prosecution of the accused policemen. There is so much pressure coming from highly placed politicians in the state on the police to give the accused a soft landing.
“First we were being pressurized to change the content of the investigative report. We refused. The AIG insisted that he was not going to tolerate murderous men in the force in his command and was not going to change it. The DPP wrote a letter congratulating the committee for their work and that was were the whole maneuvering began. A copy of the report was requested for by the AG and since then, we have been under pressure to let the killer policemen go free but I can assure you that if anyone will kill this case, it will not be the police.”
At the anatomy department of UNICAL, CrossRiverWatch sought to know why medical professionals were also conniving with the police to deny receiving bodies, a senior staff of the department who also did not want to be named due to what the staff called ‘sensitive nature of the matter’ said: “My brother, it is the tradition here. It is a cartel. This one busted because of that boy Derek who was involved and the effort of his family if not, no one would have known that any body was brought here.
|Late Derek Maurice Ben (DD)|
“Bodies are brought here frequently by the police and they will just tell us the victims are robbers. We pay them money for those bodies. As small as eleven thousand Naira. We use them to train the students. We are not supposed to buy bodies but since we can’t have them elsewhere, the police are always a ready source. But please don’t say I said so.” The source said.
But for Mrs. Enang, she is now calling for justice. “I humbly wish to use this medium to call on the President, Senate President, Speaker House of Representative, Attorney General of the Federation and that of Cross River State, Inspector General of Police, Governor of Cross River State, Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Secretary General United Nation, National Human Right Commission, Nigerian Bar Association, Amnesty International, Civil Liberty Organization, Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, NGO’S and Nigerians as a whole to bring those who killed my son, a fatherless child to Justice.”