Ebonyi Community Group Petitions IGP Over Killing Of Kinsman

Usman Alkali, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP)

The gruesome murder of Mr. Kelechi Amos Irem, from Ugwuma Edda, a village in Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi has resulted in anger and condemnation, with a group, the Edda Rescue and Intervention Initiative sending a strongly worded petition to the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Usman Baba seeking his intervention.

According to the petitioners who are being represented by Mr. Mudi Erhenede of Mudi Erhenede & Associates (Delta Chambers), Kelechi was murdered in cold blood on July 31, 202, by suspected members of a feared group in their state popularly known as “More Kan Be Done”.

Messrs. Abia Onyike, Samuel Okam and Imo Chima, all members of Edda Rescue and Intervention Initiative of Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State in a petition titled “Complaint against Messrs Paul Okey Onu and Ifeanyi Orji Ekea and Many Others at Large, of Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, and Illegal and Political Attempt to Prevent Their Arrest and Prosecution by Agents of the Government of Ebonyi State”, alleged that those who killed their kinsmen are being shielded.

The petition read in part: “Our clients have instructed us to write to your esteemed office pertaining to the gruesome and cold blooded murder of one Mr. Kelechi Amos Irem, who hailed from Ugwuma Edda, a village in Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State on the 31st day of July, 2021.

“Our clients informed us that the following persons were involved in the killing of the said deceased Kelechi Amos Irem. They are Paul Okey Onu, Arua Ikwor Ekpe, Azunna Oko Akuma (alias Zino), Anya Etuu, Abuchi Chiam Mark, Otura Anya, Ifeanyi Oji Ekea, Kenneth Agha Okoro (alias Mukoro), Nnachi Oji (alia Caprinwa), Sunday Ibiam Tom, Arua Udu Oji and Peter Ogbuagu Elekwa.

“The above-listed individuals who are well known all over Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State are members of a notorious group of political enforcers known as and called “More Kan Be Done” which has been fingered in the murder, maiming and destruction of the property of persons whom they consider as enemies or opponents of the said group. Attached hereto and marked Appendix “A” is a copy of a list of crimes allegedly committed by members of the said group in the past”.

The group further alleged that the state government backed the release of the suspects, who were remanded by a magistrate court after it declined jurisdiction on the matter.

“Flowing from relentless public outcry from friends and relatives of the said deceased, Kelechi Amos Irem, and members of a group known as Edda Resuce & Intervention Initiative (our clients), men and officers of the Nigeria Police Force in Ebonyi State were able to arrest one Mr. Paul Okey Onu and one Mr. Ifeanyi Orji Ekea in connection with the said gruesome and cold-blooded murder, and after a thorough and detailed investigation, the police charged the duo to court in charge No. MAB/627c/2021 on the 17th day of September, 2021. “Subsequently, one Orji Joseph Amaechila was also arrested and charged to court in Charge No. MAB/694c/2021. Attached hereto and marked Appendix “B” are the certified true copies of the Charge Sheet and the record of proceedings in Charge No. MAB/627c/2021.

“Also, attached hereto and marked Appendix “C” are the certified true copies of the Charge Sheet and the record proceedings in Charge No. MAB/694c/2021, for easy reference”, it said.

As contained in the petition, the presiding magistrate declined jurisdiction and remanded the defendants in the above charges in the custody of the Correctional Centre Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, while the police continued with its investigation with the hope of finding and prosecuting the other offenders, who are still at large.

The Late Mr. Kelechi Amos Irem

“Strangely, however, our clients were shocked to their marrow when they saw the trio of Paul Okey Onu, Ifeanyi Orji Ekea and Orji Joseph Amaechila, who were supposed to be remanded in custody in Ekoli Edda community of Afikpo South in company of their cohorts and numerous members of the dreaded “More Kan Be Done” group drinking, firing gun shots into the sky in rancorous celebration over their release without any trial of any kind by a court of law.

“Our clients have informed us that their inquiries from the police and officers of the Ebonyi State Judiciary revealed that the trio of the defendants in the murder in question were discharged by the court on the application of the Attorney-General of Ebonyi State, who has converted the powers of his office to enter a nolle prosequi in appropriate cases to an instrument aimed at shielding hoodlums, thugs, murderers and other social miscreants that are deployed for the killing and maiming of political opponents etc”, the petition alleged.

The petitioners, are, therefore, praying the Inspector-General of Police to among other things, order the re-arrest of  the suspects to face justice.

“Sir, life no matter any circumstance should be sacred. Nobody should be allowed to take the life of another in the manner in which the life of Mr. Kelechi Amos Irem was cut short without legal consequences.

“It is in the context of the above, that we humbly request that you use your good offices to “order the re-arrest and prosecution of Paul Okey and Ifeanyi Orji Ekea, who were arbitrarily ordered to be released by the Attorney-General of Ebonyi State.

“Order the arrest of the other above listed suspects, who allegedly caused the death of Mr. Kelechi Amos Irem, for purposes of their being investigated and possibly charged to court if found wanting; and  order the police to investigate the numerous alleged criminal offences that are listed in Appendix “A” herein’’, he said.

The petitioners further noted that  “in making the above prayers, we are very mindful of the express provisions of Section 166(3) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of Ebonyi State 2019 which provides thus: “where a nolle prosequi is entered in accordance with the provisions of this section or section 167, the discharge of a defendant shall not operate as a bar to any subsequent proceedings against him on account of the same facts”.

“We are of the candid opinion that the investigation and possible prosecution of persons for such high crimes as the cold blooded murder in of any human being must not be left to the whims and caprices of any  individual no matter the office and powers that are exercisable by the occupant of that office. It is the rule of law that must prevail”, the petition further read.

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