Simon Utebor, Yenagoa
The families of a Bayelsa State teenager, Master Innocent Kokorifa, allegedly killed by the police in Yenagoa, have concluded arrangements to bury the remains of the deceased.
The 17-year-old Innocent, first out of five children of Mr. Daniel Kokorifa, an official of the Federal Road Safety Corps, was shot dead in a mysterious circumstance by the police Anti-Vice/Anti-Kidnapping team along Airforce Road in Yenagoa, on August 18, 2016.
The deceased (Innocent), was said to be running an errand for his mother, Pere Kokorifa, when he was allegedly killed by the police about 11am on the fateful day.
But the state police command had in a statement shortly after the incident, claimed that the victim died in a gun battle between a three-man notorious armed robbery gang and the police team.
Father of the victim, Daniel Kokorifa, confirmed to our correspondent on Wednesday that Innocent’s remains would be buried in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, on Saturday (this week), since the autopsy had been carried out and cause of death known.
On the next step after the autopsy, Kokorifa said, “The country we are in has procedures and we cannot take laws into our hands. We are going to meet at the court and justice will prevail.
“I believe in the judiciary. They will do their job. There are cases they have handled and people have been sentenced to death and given penalties, so this one will not be an exception.”
It was learnt that the result of the autopsy carried out at the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, indicated that the deceased actually died from the bullets fired by the police.
The autopsy was reportedly carried out by a pathologist at the FMC, Dr. E. P. Odoye, last Saturday.
However, the autopsy and the level of investigation so far, have continued to generate reactions from human rights group and lawyers.
An activist and lawyer, Ebikebuna Aluzu, expressed satisfaction on the recent attitude of the police by ensuring that a successful autopsy was carried out.
Aluzu, the prime mover of the #JusticeForInnocent Movement, said the autopsy was part of the due process required to aid the investigative process.
Aluzu, however, frowned on the manner the police were treating other aspects of the investigation with regard to the perpetrators of the killing.
The activist said, “Justice delayed is justice denied. But I believe that justice will prevail in this case.
“As an activist, who has been involved or passionate about human rights, I am not too comfortable with the way the police are going about their investigation. This is a case that involves more than one party.
“The police team that carried out the operation are all locked up in Zone 5 Division, Edo State. Following up the case, I have been to that Zone 5, and there’s something I noticed that the men of the Anti-Vice are put in one place. These people are parties to an offence and as a forensic expert, I am not too comfortable with that situation.
“You don’t put people who are parties to an offence together. They will have the opportunity to collaborate and corroborate their stories. There is need to separate them, even in prison.”
In the same vein, a human rights activist, Ebiserikumo Gbassa, alleged that the excesses of the Police in the state were getting out of hand.
He also frowned on the nonchallance of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area (Kokorifas’ LGA) and the Bayelsa State Government on the matter, alleging that their lack of interest was because the matter involved the poor.
Gbassa mentioned how Governor Seriake Dickson went to Abuja to commiserate with the family of the state Chief Judge, Mrs. Kate Abiri, when her son was allegedly murdered, because the Abiris were rich.
He added that he would ensure that he implicated all the tiers of Bayelsa government in the case for not showing concerns when they needed to do so.
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Simon Utebor, Yenagoa