Ebonyi: Day Drunken Policeman Wreaked Havoc, Crushed Teenagers To Death

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Ifeanyi and others were crushed by a Police Inspector attached to the state police command, Isaac Jeremiah, a mobile policeman, an Igala from Kogi State, who was allegedly drunk while driving, which contributed to the fatal accident in front of eatery, Kilimanjaro, in Abakaliki, the state capital, where the incident occurred. The tragedy occurred on Easter day. The Audi vehicle, which Isaac drove, ran on about seven children but Ifeanyi and an 18-year-old girl identified simply as Agatha, died on the spot. It was said that Agatha’s mother, on receiving the news of the death her daughter, slumped and died immediately.

About three other victims involved in that accident, died few days later in the hospital. Ifeanyi’s stomach was ripped open, which brought out his intestines while his head and back were broken. Morticians had to stitch his head and intestine while in the morgue where the boy’s body was preserved pending his burial, which took place last Saturday in his Agbaenyim village, Inyimagu community, Ikwo Local Government Area of the state. Ifeanyi was a student of Ebonyi State University Staff School, Abakaliki and was in JSS 2 before his untimely death. About three teenagers survived the incident after receiving medical attention while two of the victims later died in the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, where they were taken to for the medical attention.

Ifeanyi lived at No 13 Nsugbe Street Abakaliki with his parents and siblings. He was returning from Easter Retreat alongside his friends in their church, All Saints Anglican Church, located along Ogoja road, Abakaliki, on that fateful Easter Day, when tragedy struck. Police shun support, Ifeanyi’s burial The State Police Command did not attend Ifeanyi’s burial. Inspector Isaac Jeremiah did not attend, neither did any representative of the Police Command attend the burial, which attracted dignatories from all walks of life. In- spector Isaac and the state police command did not also bear the financial burden arsing from Ifeanyi’s issue.

Ifeanyi’s Boys Brigade group members at- tended the burial and gave him full honour with full parade and other activities. The deceased’s family members observed the parade, which lasted for almost one hour. The family members inspected the parade in his honour. One of Ifeanyi’s sisters, Victoria, decorated his casket with the brigade attires before the commencement of the parade. The attires, which included the Brigade cap, shoes, clothes and other materials were later handed to his father by the Brigade at the graveside in accordance with the organization’s tradition before the casket was lowered to the grave.

Ifeanyi died while serving God-Clergy In his sermon at the burial, which was titled “The Mortal Enemy, All Must Face”, Rev. Toch- ukwu Diala said Ifeanyi ran a good race while on earth and urged the mourners and sympathizers to emulate his virtues. He described the boy as someone, who dedicated his short life to serve God with his talents. “At the accident scene, I went there and saw Ifeanyi carrying good news bible, a big yellow bible. It was not a pocket bible; it was a big bible that he was carrying. He was doing the work of Christ and that is my only consolation.

“Ifeanyi died while serving Christ and that is to say that he is among the holy ones, the Saints who are resting, awaiting resurrection. Ifeanyi did his work well and it pleased God to call him to leave this sinful and stressful world”, he stated. The clergy urged the mourners, sympathizers and all those who attended the burial to get prepared for death which he said, can come at anytime and advised them to live a good life like the deceased while preparing for it.

Brigade: We must get justice for him Esomchi Ahamefula Joseph, captain of 11th Abakaliki Company, who is also the Battalion Council Chairman, Abakaliki Battalion Council of the Brigade, described the action of the state police command on Ifeanyi’s death as unfair. He told Sunday Telegraph at the burial ceremony that the Brigade will take up the matter to bring the perpetrator to book. “We have our different arms, procedures and protocols. We will take the matter up through the Battalion Council Legal Adviser in conjunction with the State Council Legal Adviser.

Their looking into the matter, will do everything legally possible to bring the perpetrator of this act to book. Not seeing the police in the burial is very unfair and disheartening. “When we were preparing to come for the burial, we met some questions: Will the police come? It was even on Thursday that I came to know that the perpetrator is a policeman. It was on that Thursday, a day to the burial that one of the officers in our Battalion informed me that the perpetrator is a policeman. I didn’t know that it is a policeman that caused Ifeanyi’s death.

“We were hoping that there will be a police van attached to the ambulance that carried Ifeanyi’s body but lo and behold, we didn’t see any. So, it is disheartening. But like I said, we will follow everything with due process through our Legal Adviser”, he stated. He described Ifeanyi as a unique, talented boy, who made impact that cannot be measured while alive, adding that his death has created vacuum that cannot be filled by anyone. “Ifeanyi is somebody that is unique in his way, in the sense that he is a boy that has a reputable character, a character that could be emulated, a character that every other boy is being asked to look upon Ifeanyi.

His punctuality to the things of the Boys Brigade can never been erased because he is always available in every practice, In every rehearsal, in every activities that Boys Brigade has held in this Abakaliki Battalion Council. “The impact Ifeanyi made cannot be measured. He is known in every activity. So, we are feeling his loss so much. Currently, the gap is already there. How we lost him is like a mirage; a boy coming out Easter Retreat and was just on his way home and he was killed. So, his death is a sad one to the Boys Brigade, Ebonyi State Council and Boys Brigade in Nigeria in general.

“He is a boy everybody was looking up to. He was supposed to be among those trained to be part of the state council band squad. The Acting Secretary has already shortlisted his name to the state council training band Com- mander to look into him and enlist him, so that he will be trained as a complete band boy. But this incident cut it short. So, the impact that Ifeanyi created in Boys Brigade is too much. That is why we came here in our numbers to pay our last respect to him, knowing full well that he will be happy wherever he is. He will be happy that his people didn’t forget him. So, we will miss Ifeanyi and we will miss him so much”, Esomchi added.

On the fear by many parents, who were planning to stop their children from attending church things as a result of the incident, he said, “the impression that many parents will no longer allow their children to go to church activities as a result of this type of incident is true because there is this fear in the parents; nobody knows what or who it will be next. “We still encourage them to allow their children to do things of God. We cannot protect them if God does not protect them. The most important thing is handing over them to God. Keeping them at home and at the end, they will end up joining bad groups or gangs in the society is not good.

“The soul aim of the Boys Brigade is the advancement of God’s kingdom among boys, promotion of the habit of obedience, reverence, discipline, self-respect and all that tends towards a good Christian manliness. These are the things we are instilling inside these children to enable them become better citizens tomorrow. So, keeping them at home because of what happened to Ifeanyi, is not a credit to parents”. One of the teenagers, who survived the incident, Enah Andrew Chukwudi, who is a member of the Brigade, lamented the death of Ifeanyi, describing it as pathetic.

He narrated to Sunday Telegraph how the incident happened thus: “We dismissed from Easter Retreat and were given Appeal Fund Cards to fill. We were meeting people on the road to fill the cards for us when we were going. We first met some people that signed for us in the church before deciding to go out. “As we were going home, Ifeanyi told us to follow him and go to their street, Nsugbe Street Abakaliki. That their street people will fill for us. He said that his street people have money and ordered that we should follow Ogbe Hausa, Abacha Roundabout side and got to his street.

He changed his mind and said that we should not follow Ogbe Hausa side, that the place is too far to get to his street. I said okay and we followed the main road. “We shared ourselves into two; some on one lane of the road and some on the opposite lane. We met a girl that signed for us N200 each of us as we were going through the main road. Ifeanyi, who was at the oppiste lane of the road, crossed to meet us and we entered the Kilimanjaro Eatery to meet people that were there to sign for us. “As we walking into that place, this tragedy happened.

A keke hit few of us that survived while a vehicle hit Ifeanyi and those that died. All of us involved in the accident were taken to hospital. I, Kamsi and his brother Mighty- man survived. “I cried so hard on Ifeanyi’s death and Doctors were telling me that they are treating Ifeanyi but that they came to treat me myself. I told them to leave me and treat Ifeanyi first because his case was very bad- the way I saw him- he may not make it. When we entered keke to go to the hospital, his own keke was different. They put the ones that died instantly inside a different keke and Ifeanyi was among those in that keke.

So, I told them to treat Ifeanyi first and leave me because he had open stomach, head and back injury. They told me that they are already treat- ing Ifeanyi; that I should stop crying but I kept crying until my parents came”. Inspector Isaac took away my family joy- grieving mother Speaking to our correspondent, Ifeanyi’s mother, Mrs. Joy Ocheze, said Inspector Isaac Jeremiah took away the joy in her family through the tragedy and described Ifeanyi as a boy, who brought joy to her family through his obedience, respect, general good behaviour and other characters, worthy of emulation.

She demanded justice for the deceased saying that it was the only way his soul can rest in peace. The grieving mother accused the state police command of shielding the policeman that caused the incident. She alleged that the command could not do anything on the matter weeks after the incident until she summoned courage and confronted the command last week before Ifeanyi’s burial and the state Commissioner of Police ordered that Inspector Ifeanyi be prosecuted which according to her was not a sincere order as Isaac was allegedly freed the following day and is moving freely.

“On Easter Sunday, my son went to church at All Saint Anglican Cathedral, Abakaliki. On his way back from Church, one Inspector Jeremiah, who was drunk while driving, ran over about six children. Two died instantly. Four were taken to Federal Teaching Hospital by a clergy and a keke guy, Sunday Nwankwo. Then, after, a Doctor called officer in charge of the State Traffic that they brought a corpse of 18-year-old girl, Agatha from Ezza South Local Government area of the state and one Emmanuel Ifeanyichukwu Ocheze, who is my son who was 11 years old.

“A keke man that witnessed what happened, ran to police and reported the incident while the Police Inspector who killed my son and Agatha ran away. The keke man that went and reported the incident was detained by the police. He was detained for four good days and the police went and relaxed over the matter. The Police just went to the accident scene and towed the Audi vehicle the Police Inspector drove. “After four days, the state police command didn’t do anything simply because the person that killed those children is a policeman.

I collected the phone number of the IPO that was handling the matter from my in-law and called the IPO. “I asked the IPO what of the man that killed those children and the efforts to ensure justice for them?. He told me that they were still looking for the Inspector. I told him to put himself in our shoes; ‘you are a father and I am hearing your children’s voice and I am a mother. My son went to Church. On his way going back as Brigadier, your colleague you are protecting ran into those children and killed them and you are telling me that you are still looking for the man.

Only God will judge all of you. Nigeria Police, birds of the same feather. “Out of anger, I rushed to police headquarters and met the IPO. He told me ‘sorry, that they are going to look for the Inspector that killed those children’. I told him, the keke man that didn’t commit any offence came to your office to report what happened and you arrested the man and detained him for four good days without looking for the person that killed those children. I left him and went back the second time.

He showed me one Christiana Okonkwo National ID Card and the driving license; that they were found inside the Audi car that the Police Inspector drove and killed those children. “Before then, when my in-law went there first, he told them to show him the car that killed their son and the police refused to do so. When he insisted, he was taken to the car. When my in-law was finally taken to the car, Indian hemp, hot drinks the Police Inspector was taking while driving were found inside the car.

“The IPO showed me the ID card of one Chris- tiana Okonkwo that was found inside that car too and he traced the address on the ID Card to where the owner is living in Udensi Street, Abakaliki. When the police called the woman, she came out. She said yes, Isaac is a mobile policeman. He is my husband. She narrated that her husband at around 2:pm on Easter Sunday, demanded the car’s key and she told him, oga, this car has no brake, you are not supposed to go out with this car and the husband started quarrelling her and went and picked the key on top of the table and drove out. “The woman told the policemen that when her husband came back in the evening, she asked him where the car was and he replied that he parked it somewhere and will go and pick it tomorrow.

Then, that tomorrow, she asked him whether he was not going to pick the car anymore and the husband replied that he gave it to his friend to go and fix the brake and the woman said okay and refused to tell the policemen what happened. “The IPO- Inspector Ben and his colleagues went back to Inspector Isaac’s house. Isaac refused to come out of his room and see them. The policemen went and reported to their superior in the office. The superior ordered the policemen to go and bring him and they went and brought Isaac to the state CID. The IPO asked me to come back on Wednesday last week; that Isaac’s relation wants to see us. When we got there at the state traffic, Abakaliki, we met two men and my in-law asked them who they are and they said they are just friends of Isaac.

“On 2nd May, we were called again at State CID, Abakaliki. This time around, they went and brought Inspector Isaac Jeremiah from Kogi State, Igala to be precise. The man came with the keke man and one Patrick and told us that it is only the keke man that they needed and that they don’t need us. I got angry and demanded to see the Commissioner of Police. As God may have it, the CP gave me audience. The CP ordered them to bring the man, Isaac and called O/C Traffic, O/C mobile and other senior officers. The CP ordered that the matter should be charged to court.

“This morning, May 3, somebody called me from that place, that I should not mind the CP, that they have released the man. I asked the person who called me who he was and where he was calling me from and he said that he was calling from the state CID; that I should not mind the police, that it is their language; we will dismiss, this, this, this!!!. “I am heartbroken. That boy is my joy, and Inspector Isaac took away my joy, the joy of my family. I want justice for my son so that his son can rest in peace. Inspector Isaac Jeremiah is not supposed to be in the police system.

He is one of the bad eggs we have in that system. “I am pleading with the state Commissioner of Police to help me and bring justice to my son. Not only him, and other children that died because of other children that died. It is very painful that the police did not do anything on this incident. “The command didn’t do anything. It was my husband that carried every load on this incident. He paid the mortuary bills. He paid for the stitching of my son’s stomach and his face in the mortuary because his stomach, head and back were all opened as a result of the incident”, she stated.

Sunday Telegraph contacted the State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Onome Onovwak- poyeya, for the command’s reaction on the matter. Onome, who said she was not aware of the incident as it was not repoted to her office, called the state Traffic office which confirmed the tragedy to her. She then said: “Yes, I have called the state traffic as you can see. Procedure is ongoing on the matter. Let me see my CP”. She later called our correspondent on the telephone and told him that the CP travelled and will call the reporter back when he comes back, which she has not done as at the time of this report. The late Ifeanyi is the last child of his family, which has six children; four boys and two girls.

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