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20.12.2021 news Edo Boy Brutalised to Death ‘Not Under Alcohol Influence as Army Claimed’

Published 20th Dec, 2021

By Emmanuel Uti

Christian Konor Ehima, the son of a policewoman in Edo State who died on December 10 following an encounter with soldiers attached to the railway checkpoint in Igbanke, was not under the influence of alcohol prior to his death, Muoka Nkem, the Ehimas’ family doctor, has told FIJ.

This is contrary to a recent statement released by the Nigerian Army denying the alleged brutalisation and killing of Konor by the soldiers.

FIJ had reported on Friday that Konor, who was escaping from kidnappers, ran to soldiers for help, but rather than help, they killed him. This was based on Konor’s last statements, as revealed by Ehima Mercy, his mother, to FIJ.

But responding, the army, in a statement by its director of public relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, said the soldiers did not assault Konor. According to Nwachukwu, the army had both audio and video recordings to prove that Konor was rather under the influence of alcohol.

“Incontrovertible evidence indicates that Christian Ehima wandered into a military checkpoint at Wire-Ake in Edo State on the 10 December 2021, without his clothes on, and was halted by soldiers on duty,” the statement reads in part. “He was interrogated but could not say anything meaningful on where he was coming from or heading. His behaviour was rather weird and indicative of one who was obviously under some sort of influence.

READ ALSO: Soldiers Shave Residents’ Heads, Flog Traders in Rivers Community

“The guard commander, who observed his abnormal behaviour, immediately requested for his phone in an effort to contact any of his relations, friends or associates. Shortly afterwards, a call came through to his phone and the caller identified herself as his mother. The soldier invited her to pick up her son, who was still very agitated and unstable.

“It is also important to state that the incident was recorded both on video and audio, showing the behaviour of Christian Ehima and his mother commending the soldiers for their kind intervention. The evidence, including audio recordings of the police officer and her son, are attached.”

After obtaining the video and audio the army mentioned in its statement, FIJ contacted Nkem, but he revealed that the victim was not under the influence of alcohol, but restless from respiratory distress following brutalisation.

“He was in the mud and he was brutalised. I don’t know who did that, but he was in respiratory distress. When I saw the boy, he was in a bad state – restless and rumpled. We rushed him and tried to resuscitate him, but within four hours he died,” he said.

“How he got to that place, I don’t know. But what I know is that he was not drunk, but highly brutalised before dying. He had been a sane child with no record of lunacy.”

Latifah Idris, a friend of the deceased, also told FIJ that Konor was neither an alcoholic nor mentally unstable as the army suggested. “Why did they delay his mother for an hour? What were his clothes in their possession?” Idris asked. “There is a clear fact that they moved him from the checkpoint to the pit to fake evidence that he was mentally unstable.”

“If he stood when they initially saw him, why couldn’t he stand when I saw him?” Mercy, Konor’s mother, also asked, when speaking with FIJ. “Could he have rolled on the ground for three minutes? When I saw him, he could neither sit nor stand because he was writhing in pain. He had a broken spinal cord.”

READ ALSO: Soldiers Brutalise, Strip Yabatech Lecturer Naked for Speaking Up for Students

She explained that the “thank you” she said in the now-viral audio released by the army was to pacify the soldier who spoke to her, adding that seeing her son unhurt was her main interest at the time.

“I thought to myself how possible it was that my son would drag a soldier’s gun with him. So, I said, because he was in the village, they may have given him something. I said this to get to where my son was. Even the doctor who saw him said he did not perceive a stench of alcohol from my son,” Ehima told FIJ.

READ MORE: Boy Escaping From Kidnappers in Edo Ran to Soldiers for Help. ‘But They Killed Him’

“I spoke to him before his death, but there was no aura of alcohol from my son. He was not drunk. I am also sure the soldiers delayed me before they took me to where they left my son because they did not know what to do on hearing I was a police officer,” she said.

She said the soldiers did not take her immediately to where Konor was but discussed it among themselves in a corner. Later, they showed her a pit from a distance, saying that was where Konor was. At this point, she concluded that they must have done something to her son.

“The soldiers showed me where they said my son stood. It was very close to their checkpoint. My question is, ‘How did he get to the pit, rolling, as they said?’ It would take two to three minutes for one to walk from the checkpoint to the pit where they put him,” she said.

She said one Adebayo spoke to her throughout, but she saw a short, slightly fair-skinned soldier who, Konor described on his death bed as the one who beat him the most. According to her, the fair-skinned soldier was the one Konor tried to drag a gun from.

FIJ also showed the army’s video to a doctor at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), and he said the actions portrayed in the video may be symptoms of moderate psychosis.

“Psychosis is a condition that affects the way the brain processes information. It may cause one to lose touch with reality,” he said.
“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, drugs or trauma could have triggered his actions or brain damage could be the main problem. Only an autopsy can prove there is brain damage. If there were physical injuries on his head or around his head, it may mean that there was a structural damage.”

Nkem further said that when he examined the video clinically, Konor manifested trauma due to brutality by a person or a group of people.

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Published 20th Dec, 2021

By Emmanuel Uti

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