Family members of a 37-year-old man, Augustine Ogbonnia Eke who allegedly died in the cell of Ebonyi State Police Command in Abakaliki have appealed to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Baba Alkali to order an investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.
The appeal follows their objection to claims by the Police Command that the detainee was beaten to death by his cellmates for urinating and defecating inside their cell.
Late Augustine who was the only son of his parents was arrested at the popular Eke market in his hometown Ishiagu, Ivo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State over a petition that he was involved in an alleged burning of a police station in the community.
He was arrested on Thursday, the September 9, 2021 while his relations who were at the Command Headquarters to perfect his bail on Friday were asked to come back on Monday, September 13, to sign his bond.
One of the deceased relations, Mr Chinedu Chukwu told Radio Nigeria that he was shocked that his corpse was presented to him when he returned on Monday with his Lawyer to complete his bail application.
Inquiry into his death
A sister of the deceased, Mrs Georginia Eke said she was yet to come to terms with the death of her only brother and appealed to the Police authorities to commission an inquiry into his death as the excuses given by the Command were unbelievable.
Another sister of the deceased who did not want her name mentioned wondered why he was allegedly transferred to another cell, a night to his death and why police on guard did not intervene when he was being beaten by his cellmates as alleged.
Lawmaker representing Ivo State Constituency, Mazi Oliver Osi noted that the death of Ogbonnia Eke was not the only questionable death that had occurred in Ishiagu in recent times over politically motivated allegations.
When contacted, the State Commissioner of Police, Mr Aliyu Garba said the detainee died in the clinic as a result of injuries he sustained from beatings, noting that those responsible had been arrested.
As at the time of filing this report, Radio Nigeria gathered that the family members of the deceased were yet to recover the corpse of Ogbonnia from police custody as they claimed that they were yet to be contacted by the Ebonyi State Police Command.
Reporting by Amechi Kingsley, editing by Muzha Kucha