Justice for Awommamma Killings

Spaces for Change|S4C has continued to provide free legal representation to two widows in respect of the extrajudicial killing of their sons, Late Chidozie Chukwu and Late Magnus Okechukwu Okoro, 39 and 34 years old men respectively, by officers of Anti-kidnapping Unit, State CID Owerri, Imo State. Sequel to the petition filed at the Imo State Judicial Commission of Inquiry on Security Breaches, this matter came up for hearing on March 29, with S4C’s Legal Officer, Ms, Chetachi Udeh, representing the Petitioners and M.I Asuzu Esq. with K. Anyawuebere Esq. as counsels for the Commission. The Respondent, the Nigeria Police Force, was absent and unrepresented.

Retired Justice E.F Njemanze presided at the hearing with six members of the Commission.  Service of processes on the Respondent was confirmed by the Commission before the proceeding commenced.  The petitioners, Mrs Rose Okoro and Mrs Cecilia Chukwu led by their counsel, Ms. Chetachi Louis-Udeh, testified on oath and thereafter adopted their petitions filed by Spaces for Change as their evidence before the Commission. The amended prayers dated the 24/3/2022 was adopted too. The five exhibits attached on each petition were also admitted in evidence and marked as EXHB JCISB 143/144 A-E respectively.

S4C also applied to the Commission to prevail on the Imo State Police Command to release  the corpses of the deceased young men to their families for burial. The Commission adjourned the matter to 5th April 2022 to enable the police appear and cross examine the Petitioners. The Commission ordered a fresh hearing notice be issued and served on the Deputy Commissioner of Police as the Commissioner just retired. The Commission further ruled that should the Commissioner of Police fail to attend the hearing on the next adjourned date, the Commission shall make an order for the corpse of late Mr. Chidozie Chukwu and late Magnus Okoro to be released at no cost to the Petitioners.

On the next adjourned date, 5th April 2022, the matter was slated for cross examination by the Commissioner of Police, COP, Imo State and for continued hearing.  The COP was absent because the previous COP of Imo State retired from service last week and the vacant position is yet to be filled. However, CSP Dan Iroakazi from OPS THUNDER, State CID Owerri, was present at the hearing for another matter, and the Commission drew his attention to the present  petitions under consideration. Accordingly, the Commission directed the CSP to assist  by accelerating the process of releasing the corpses to Petitioners for burial.

In furtherance of the Commission’s ruling, S4C has scheduled meetings with the State CID for further action on the matter and to report back to the Commission on 7th April 2022.

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