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Chima Ikwunado: Reactions Trail Seeming Exoneration Of Unit Commander

With the confirmation of the detention of four Police officers attached to the Eagle Crack Unit of alleged complicity in the death of Chima Ikwunado  by the spokesperson of Rivers State Police Command, Deputy Superintendent of Police(DSP), Nnamdi Omoni and subsequent confirmation of the  redeployment of the Unit Commander. Superintendent of Police (SP), Benson Adetuyi by the Commissioner of Police, CP Dandaura Mustapha, residents of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital have expressed fear over seeming exoneration of the head of the unit by the Police authority in the state.

With the confirmation of the detention of four Police officers attached to the Eagle Crack Unit of alleged complicity in the death of Chima Ikwunado  by the spokesperson of Rivers State Police Command, Deputy Superintendent of Police(DSP), Nnamdi Omoni and subsequent confirmation of the  redeployment of the Unit Commander. Superintendent of Police (SP), Benson Adetuyi by the Commissioner of Police, CP Dandaura Mustapha, residents of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital have expressed fear over seeming exoneration of the head of the unit by the Police authority in the state.

A legal practitioner Naazigha-Lue Esq, who is also a member of Centre for Defence of Human Rights in a telephone interview with National Network said “the Unit Commander of Eagle Crack Unit must be detained and tried alongside the four officers who are in State Criminal Investigation Department”.

 According to Barrister Lue, the redeployment of SP Benson Adetuyi is not right because as a Unit commander it is believed that his subordinates take instruction from him.

On his part, National Coordinator of Civil Rights Council, Barrister Arochukwu Paul Ogbonna Esq in an interview with our reporter stated that the redeployment of the Unit Commander is not sufficient.

The legal practitioner disclosed that SP Benson should be held responsible for the actions of officers under him because according to him, if the Commander was more diligent the incident would not have occurred in the first place.

Similarly, the Chairman of Civil Liberties Organization South –South, Karl Uchegbu in an interview with our reporter revealed that the unit Commander ought not to be transferred but investigated alongside the four officers in detention.

In the same vein, Barrister Festus Bonwin Esq has told National Network that the transfer of the Unit Commander does not exonerate him from the crime being investigated.

He opined that his transfer may paved the way for an independent investigation into the matter and he will be arrested and detained if found culpable at the end of the investigation.

A retired Police Officer and onetime Officer In Charge (OC) Human Rights State Criminal Investigation Department, Deputy Superintendent of Police(DSP) Amadi on his part told National Network that every Divisional  Police Officer (DPO) and Unit Commander of Divisions and Units is vicariously liable for the actions of their men .

The retired Police Officer noted that as a DPO or Unit Commander, one is expected to ensure adequate and close supervision of your men under him.

In the meantime, the Commissioner of Police in Rivers State CP Mustapha in his response to the transfer of SP Benson Adetuyi explained that he was redeployed to ensure fairness and transparency in the process of investigation.

It would be recalled that late Ikwunado died in the detention facility of Eagle Crack Unit in Mile 1 Diobu on 23rd December, 2019, four days after he was arrested alongside four others.

His death sparked public outrage as the Spokesperson of Rivers State Police Command, DSP Omoni had disclosed that result of autopsy conducted on late Ikwunado showed he died of high sugar, a statement the family of late Ikwunado refuted.