Twenty-five-year-old Moses Adam was on his way home on Friday when a policeman from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Edo State Police Command, shot him dead. His sister’s wedding was 12 hours away and he was returning from a fashion designer sewing his clothes.
According to multiple sources, some police detectives on mufti were violently waylaying two cars in Benin, the capital of Edo State. Adam and Kelvin Uwumunse, his friend, were inside one, and their other friends in the other.
Adam and his friends were unsure of the identity of the people contending the road with them, so they tried to make a detour, but gunshots were fired at them.
“Immediately I heard a gunshot in front of me, I reversed, but they kept shooting at my tyre,” Uwumunse said. “Then, one of them later shot at the door beside me and the bullet hit Adamu on the thigh. I drove straight to Edo Specialist Hospital.”
“If I had known they were police officers, I would have stopped immediately they ambushed us, but the way they drove and shot sporadically made them appear to me like kidnappers.”
POLICE’S ATTEMPT TO COVER UP EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLING
Adamu died in the hospital after losing so much blood. FIJ received multiple pictures showing Adamu’s excessive bleeding from his thigh.
While Adam was receiving treatment at the hospital before his demise, his family’s lawyers, Emmanuel Chinalu, Uwumunse, and some others, visited Esigie Police Station to report the crime and found out their attackers were from the CID.
At the CID, they were shocked that the police officers had arrested and detained three of Adamu’s friends.
“Even the officer in charge was shocked when we told him his men shot someone during an operation,” Chinalu told FIJ.
“He insisted the officers never documented firing any shot let alone hitting someone with a bullet. It was after we got to the hospital that the police believed and gave us N120,000 for the treatment.”
Adamu died shortly after his police guests left the hospital on Friday evening and his remains deposited at the Stella Obasanjo Mortuary in Benin at about 2 am on Saturday.
WHY ROGUE POLICE SHOT INNOCENT YOUTH
By Saturday afternoon, there had been more revelations about the incident. FIJ found that the police officers that ambushed Adam and his friends had been trailing them without their knowledge.
Osasu Egharevva, one of the detainees, told FIJ: “The police said our other friend, Ebuka Nwaechie, who drove the car, was a murder suspect and that was why they were after us. We didn’t even know Ebuka had a case with the police until they detained and began to torture us.”
Apart from Adam, Egharevva also sustained mild injuries to his leg after a stray bullet hit him. Despite being under arrest, he said he was the one who footed the bills for his treatment at the police clinic.
“When they took me to their clinic, the doctor said I would need some things, but the police didn’t have the money,” he said. “I was the one who transferred over N9,000 for my own treatment.”
Upon hearing about the case on Saturday, Philip Ogbadu, the Edo State Commissioner of Police, ordered the unconditional release of two out of the three detainees, as well their two seized cars.
However, Nwaechie, the actual murder suspect, remains in custody. The Police Duty Solicitors Scheme of the Nigerian Bar Association, Benin branch, has also demanded a proper prosecution of the rogue police officers.
In a statement signed by Amechi Nwaozor, the Coordinator of PDSS, the group urged “the Police High Command, the Edo State Government, the National Human Rights Commission, and the National Assembly to ensure the proper investigation and prosecution of this matter which exposes the ill-treatments our people suffer in the hands of our security personnel”.
ADAM’S FAMILY DISAGREES WITH POLICE OVER DEATH
Reacting to the incident, Kontongs Bello, the spokesman of the Edo State Police Command, stated that the policeman shot Adamu “in a bid to restrain the fleeing suspect from escaping”.
However, Esther, one of Adam’s elder sisters, disagreed with the account. She lamented the attempt by the police to twist the narrative.
“My brother was not killed by a stray bullet as the police claimed,” she said. “He was aimed at in the second car which Ebuka was not even inside. While treating my brother, the doctor told us that he was hit by a close range bullet and that he lost so much blood before his death.”
“You can just imagine what the police are now saying about the crime deliberately committed by their officer.”
Although the police are yet to reveal the identity of the officer who killed Adam, Bello said the culprit had been arrested and would undergo administrative trial to determine his punishment.
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