Dear Sir: The Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) requests the chairman of the police service commission to ensure a prompt, exhaustive and impartial investigation into the role of the police in Kogi in cover-up of serial murders of members of Bameyi family in Idda, Kogi state by a notorious gang operating at the behest of influential persons in Idda.
The Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) is a network of 39 civil society organizations working on issues of Police Reform and Accountability. It was established in 2000 to provide opportunity for civil society involvement in police reform, and the promotion of safety, security and justice in Nigeria.
The Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) hereby calls on the Chairman of the Police Service Commission to ensure that a prompt, full and impartial investigation is carried out into the involvement of some powerful and influential persons in Kogi State in the incessant attacks and serial killings of members of Bameyi family in Idda, Kogi State, using a notorious gang of killers. The recent attack took place on October 28, 2009. On that fateful day, the family of late Yusuf Ibrahim in Idah was attacked by thugs numbering over 15. The thugs shot and inflicted grievous injuries on Tairu Ibrahim and kidnapped and subsequently murdered Saliu Ibrahim (22). The thugs were led by one ONALO EGBUNU (A.K.A. ONEH). Late Yusuf Ibrahim and his two sons were also killed in 2007 under similar circumstances also involving some of the thugs involved in the recent killings. Till date the police in Idda have muddled up investigations and failed to bring the known perpetrators to book. This is owing to the alleged involvement of people who appear to be too powerful for the police to call to order.
THE RECENT MAYHEM
According to information received by NOPRIN:
1. On Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at about 7 p.m. Ibrahim Abdul and some other members of the Bameyi family were in their house at No. 28, Onah Street, Idah, Idah Local Government, Kogi State when a group of thugs numbering about 15 and led by one Onalo Egbunu, alias Oneh stormed into the house bearing arms such as cutlasses, guns and planks fitted with nails. Other members of the gang included:
i. Amanabo Egbunu,
ii. Audulahi Egbunu,
iii. Idoko Attabo,
iv. Mustafa Musa (Tose),
v. Okpanachi Ataguba
vi. Musa Ibrahim (Kokoni) and others whom the family will be able to identify at the appropriate time.
2. The attackers hail from the Sabon Gari Ward and other neighboring villages, and belong to a deadly gang called ‘Odumodu’ Club. Onalo Egbunu lives at No. 16, Unwuchola Street, Sabon Gari, Idah.
3. Immediately the thugs arrived at the compound, Onalo Egbunu, the leader of the gang shot sporadically into the air, and then aimed directly at Tairu Ibrahim shooting him on his right lower shoulder, close to his chest and Tairu fell down bleeding; but he managed to flee with the bullet wounds, still bleeding, to escape further attack.
4. Other members of the family present, who were taken unawares by the sudden and brutal attack, also fled the scene; but Saliu Ibrahim (22) was unlucky as he was kidnapped by the thugs and taken away to an unknown destination.
5. Later, the thugs moved to the Bameyi family houses at No. 14 and 7 Unwuchola Street, Sabon Gari, Idah and vandalized the houses, and burnt or stole several items.
6. That same evening, Ibrahim Abdul (in whose house the attack took place) and other concerned members of the community went to Idah Police Station and reported the attack to the DPO. The police took no action that day but asked them to come back the next day.
7. By the next day, information had reached the Bameyi family members that a dead body was seen by the field of Pilot Primary School, Idah; but the family members who have been in hiding, could not go to identify the dead body for fear of being ambushed by the assailants.
8. When the family went back to the Police Station the next day, the family informed the DPO about the discovery of a dead body by the Pilot Primary School field. Accompanied by some Police officers, including the IPO whose name was simply given as Ogan, the Bameyi family members went to the Pilot Primary School field and identified the corpse as that of Salihu Ibrahim who was kidnapped the previous day by the thugs led by Onalo Egbunu. Saliu Ibrahim’s whole body was covered with bruises, and his left wrist was cut off and dangling from his flesh, suggesting that he was subjected to prolonged and cruel torture and abandoned to die slowly and painfully. His corpse was beaten by the rain that fell later in the night of that same day.
9. The Police officers removed the corpse to the Police station and later deposited it at the Idah General Hospital mortuary.
10. Tairu, who was shot on the right shoulder, was later taken to a native doctor in Ibaji local government where the bullet pellets were removed from his body. The family members are afraid to take him to a hospital for the needed medical attention for fear that the thugs may kidnap him from the hospital and kill him. He is currently being treated at a secret location.
11. The thugs have continued to threaten another attack on the family, boasting that they are beyond control by the police. Members of the Bameyi family have remained in fear and hiding from the thugs who continue to prowl the community, obviously not afraid of the consequences of their heinous criminal acts.
12. The Bameyi family believes that the Idah Police Division and indeed, the State Command are either incapable of, or not keen on, apprehending the culprits despite knowing where to get them. The family alleges that the police in the State are working in cahoots with the criminals who are working at the behest of some very influential persons in Idah local government.
The Bameyi family informed NOPRIN that this is not the first time that the Bameyi family has come under vicious attack by thugs and their members wantonly killed by hired killers, without any diligent investigation and prosecution by the police.
On November 28, 1998 the head of the Bameyi family, Umoru Bameyi was brutally murdered by hired thugs killers a disputed land. It took several years of efforts and intense pressure before the police arrested some of the culprits and eventually convicted only two out of the several thugs involved.
Again on November 6, 2006 Ibrahim Yusuf (father of Abdul Ibrahim, the main complainant in the recent case) and two of his sons namely, Aminu Ibrahim and Kabiru Ibrahim were murdered by assailants led by a local Chief named Yahaya Achor over a disputed fishing pond. Interestingly, Audulahi Egbunu (a relative of the gang leader, Onalo Egbunu), one of the attackers that killed Ibrahim Yusuf and his two sons in 2006 was also involved in the recent October 28, 2009 attack.
Police investigations into the previous killings have been very shoddy. The Bameyi family alleged that the Police- right from the Idah Division up to the Kogi State Command were compromised and worked in collusion with the State DPP. The perpetrators of the 2006 killings were released without any report by the DPP.
The thugs involved in these series of attacks and killings are also alleged to have been involved in several previous killings, including political killings. For example, following the November 6, 2006 attack and killing of Ibrahim Yusuf Bameyi and two of his sons, one Corporal Emmanuel attached to the Area Command, Idah, who led a team of police officers to arrest the killers was viciously attacked by the thugs and nothing has happened ever since.
During the 2007 elections, Onalo Egbunu, the leader of the thugs that perpetrated the recent attack and killing allegedly killed a DSP attached to Idah Police Area Command without anything done by the police to bring him to book.
Because these killers are not made to face the legal consequences of their criminal actions, they are emboldened to commit more crimes. They are said to be hiding under the cover of some very influential politicians and wealthy people in Idah who appear to be too powerful for the Kogi police authorities to arrest and call to order.
In the recent killing, it took the intervention of the Idah Local Government Vice Chairman who called the DPO, Idah to investigate the case before the police made any move, albeit without any iota of diligence. This is in spite of the fact that this matter was promptly reported to the Police by the attacked family.
When NOPRIN contacted the DPO Idda Police Station, over this matter, on two occasions, the DPO assured NOPRIN that the killers have refused to report to the police, and that the Division was working hard to apprehend them. But despite these assurances, the assailants are still on the prowl, working the streets freely and confident that, as usual, nothing will happen to them. And the Bameyi family members remain in hiding, unable to go near their houses. This cannot be allowed to continue.
NOPRIN is deeply concerned about the failure, neglect and/or inability of the police- right from the Idah Division up to the Area Command and the State Command to apprehend these serial killers. Owing to the loss of confidence by the Bameyi family in the ability and or willingness of the Kogi State Police Command to fearlessly and fairly investigate this matter, NOPRIN, on behalf of the distraught Bameyi family, hereby appeals to PSC Chairman to intervene and ensure that a prompt, full and impartial investigation is carried out with a view to apprehending and prosecuting all the suspected criminals and their sponsors, and bringing a final end to threats to the lives and property of members of Bameyi family and the disruption of public peace in Idah local government area.
For further information, please, call the undersigned on 08064974531 or Umoru on 08066444116
November 24, 2009
Police Service Commission
Federal Secretariat Complex
Shehu Shagari Way