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‘Life or dead, release my son’ – Ebonyi widow tells Police

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A widow in Ndiechi Igbeagu community, Onuebonyi Izzi, Ebonyi state, Maria Ogbona Urehu has called on the state police command to release the corpse of her son, Edwin Ogbonna Urehu to her for burial or release him alive if he was still alive.

Edwin was shot on 9th June, 2021 at early hours when security operatives suspected to be policemen invaded their compound.

His only sister, Chiamaka Ogbonna was shot on the laps and her hand broken by the security operatives.

Chiamaka was taken to hospital for medical treatment by the security operatives. Though discharged, she is still languishing in pains as a result of the gunshot laps injuries and her broken hands that has stiffed.

Maria Ogbonna Urehu, Chiamaka’s mother accused a particular policeman, Sani Bala of shooting Edwin and Chiamaka but Bala told New Telegraph that he only assisted Chiamaka to receive medical attention as a result of gunshot wounds she had and was not the one that shot Edwin and the girl.

Bala also said he was an IPO that handled the matter and was not involved the shooting. However, Edwin has not been seen since that 9th June he was allegedly shot by the security operatives.

His mother, a widow and farmer who disclosed this to our reporter, described him as breadwinner of the family, quite, law abiding and hardworking and called for his release dead or alive.

She said “my son was the one taking care of me and his only sister my daughter. He started taking care of us when at a very young stage because my husband died when he at the tender age. He is the one feeding us, he was very quiet and was not a trouble maker, he was law abiding and never engaged in any criminal act.

“He finished his primary education and there was no money for him to go to attend secondary education. He decided to learn a handwork and learned motor electrical services. We struggled to establish shop for him when he finished learning the work and it was that work that he was doing until policemen shot him dead in our house when they invaded our compound for no just reason.

“On that morning, we heard heavy gunshots in our compound before they broke into our house and shot my son dead who was sleeping. His boy friend who visited him and was sleeping the same room my son was sleeping, was not shot or touched by the policemen. After shooting my son, they went to my daughter’s room and shot her on the laps like this. When I came out to know what was the problem, they forced me to lie down on the floor with that my son they shot.

“What I am pleading is for them to release my son’s corpse to me if he was killed or they should release him alive if he is still alive because since that June they shot him, I have not set my eyes on him, I want my son’s corpse to be released so that he will be buried in his father’s compound. This is what I want. They didn’t tell me what my son did that made them to shoot him”.

On her part, Ogbonna Chiamaka, 18, who is an apprentice said “it was on 9th June this year at 5:am when policemen invaded our house and shot sporadically. They broke into my brother’s house where she was sleeping and shot him. His friend who visited him and who was in that my brother’s room was not shot. I am my mum were praying that time and I stood up to know what was happening. One of them peep through the window and shot me on the laps. I told my mum that policemen have shot me on the laps.

“The policemen ordered that my brother’s friend to carry my brother they shot and took him to their vehicle. They carried me and put in the vehicle and took us to police headquarters, Abakaliki. From there, they carried me into another vehicle. I asked them where is my brother and one of them told me to keep quite or he will shot me. They took me to the hospital while my brother was lying inside the vehicle that carried us to the police headquarters. While in the hospital, policemen came severally there.

“I am appealing for the release of my brother if he is still alive. If he is dead, they should release his corpse to us, he is the only brother I have, I and him are the only children our mother has. I am still feeling pains on my laps they shot me, this deep wound the gunshots gave me has not healed. Also, I can’t stretch one of my hands, it was stiffed because they broke it”.

Meanwhile, the National Human Right Commission(NHRC) in the state has vowed to petition the state Commissioner of Police over the matter.

The state Coordinator of the Commission, Okorie Onyekachi disclosed this to our reporter while reacting to the act.

“As it is, we are hearing this for the first time. We will start up our preliminary investigation and we hope that the police that was mentioned will be part of the investigation as we cooperate with one another to fight crimes

“We will definitely write the police and the Commissioner of police will get our petition regarding this gruesome issue, it is very pathetic. Human lives is supreme to all values, if you cannot respect human rights, nothing can be respected.

“We condemn in all totality and form of violation of human rights especially as regards to right to life, right to human dignity. No person should be killed or extra judicially murdered and this particular case that is on our table is one of those”, she said. ENDS

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