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Court of Appeal to hear suit over killings of Ekwulobia youths, Oct. 19

Ayodele Olalere

The Court of Appeal, Lagos, would on Monday, October 19, 2020, hear an appeal filed against the Lagos High Court judgement in the case of four Ekwulobia youths killed by policemen 19years ago.

The youths, who were traders at Ladipo market, Anthony Ezenwafor; Chukwuemeka Ezeofor; Izuchukwu Ezeama and Alloysius Osigwe, all indigenes of Ekwulobia, Anambra State, were killed in their home in Surulere by men of the Nigeria police, Surulere, and the death of the four boys had brought a pathetic fame to their Ekwulobia community in Anambra State, as their case became popularly known as Ekwulobia Four.

They were accused of armed robbery working for their master though no investigations were conducted by the police before they were shot dead in their home in Surulere.

Their bodies were hurriedly buried by the police.

But while the wounds left behind by the killing of the Ekwulobia Four may never be healed, a businessman at the Ladipo Market and leader of the Ekwulobia Youth Association (EYA) in Lagos State, Akaraka Chinweike Ezeonara, an indigene of Ekwulobia, filed the matter before the Lagos High Court, with Justice Oyindamola Ogala as the presiding judge, demanding Justice for the victims.

The suit was filed against the Inspector-General of Police, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Lagos State, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Chief Marvel Akpoyibo and the DPO of Aguda Police Station.

However, while delivering judgement in the suit, Justice Oyindamola struck out the case. The court ruled that the matter could only be brought under Writ of Summons and not Fundamental Right. The claimants later proceeded to the Court of Appeal.

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The claimants had also written series of letters to President Muhammadu Buhari seeking justice.

” Ever since the incident took place, we have made relentless effort to see that justice is done. We have written series of petitions, sent to the appropriate quarters, believing that the remains of our innocent brothers who were wasted by a trigger-happy police officer will be found. But we have not got anything.

“You will not believe that Chief Mike Okiro, was the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State when that incident happened and Ekwulobia elders hired a lawyer and petitioned Okiro and the Inspector-General of Police back then, Tafa Balogun. Retired Deputy Inpector-General of Police, Marvel Akpoyibo was the Area Commander in charge of Area C back then and he saw the lifeless bodies of our boys paraded as armed robbers and saw the petitions but yet we did not get justice. So, we youths have taken it upon ourselves to get justice,” Akaraka said.

Reports indicated that luck had smiled on boys when they reportedly escaped unhurt through a window when their apartment at Olaitan Oduralu Street, Surulere, Lagos, was invaded by armed robbers on July 1, 2001.

According to an affidavit sworn to by Akaraka, the armed robbers were shouting the name of Aloy, in whose name the house was reportedly rented and the four boys had escaped from the armed robbers but their return to the apartment was not as lucky.

They were stopped by the police and three of them except Osigwe were shot dead on the spot based on the allegation that they were armed robbers working for the late Jude Okolie, who happened to be their former boss, while Osigwe was allegedly killed at the police station to prevent him from serving as witness to the extra judicial killing.

However, the late Okolie was never tried for armed robbery until he died in an accident about five years after the Ekwulobia four were killed, raising the question as to why the boys suspected to be working for someone could be killed when the chief suspect remained alive and not tried.