Published On: Sun, Jan 26th, 2014

Inside-Out of Police Killing of Delta Politician, Ogbe Onokpite

Late Chief Ogbe Onokpite


LAGOS JANUARY 26TH (URHOBOTODAY)-The people of Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State, the Urhobo nation, Deltans and Ugolo community will not be able to forget easily November 26, 2011, the day Ogbe Onokpite, former governorship candidate of the Citizens Peoples Party (CPP), in Delta State, was allegedly murdered at Beeland International Hotel, along Orhuwhorun Road in Udu Local Government Area of Delta state by policemen over allegation of gun running, kidnapping and armed robbery.
He was, however, buried on December 28, 2013, in his home town, Ugolo-Okpe in Okpe Local Government Area of the state after two years of legal tussle between the family and the Nigerian Police, which resulted into several rounds of autopsy on the corpse.
When the corpse of the late politician and activist arrived Ugolo-Okpe at about 1:25pm in a casket and ambulance from the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Benin City, Edo State, tears flowed from the eyes of sympathisers, who rained curses on those that killed Ogbe Onokpite. He was finally laid to rest at about 3:05pm.
The officiating minister, Apostle Love Ededuwa, in his message taken from the book of first Corinthians 15:12-26, advised sympathisers present to always speak the truth, saying it is the only thing that will save them on the last day.
According to him, “It was the truth and outright refusal of oppression that led to the death of Chief Ogbe Onokpite. It is better to die as a hero of truth than to die as a deceiver and corrupt person. Many gathered here because Chief Ogbe helped them in one way or the other”.
In his brief statement, one the solicitors in the legal battle, Odiana Eriata, of Eriata and Partners, based in Lagos, said, “there is a strong conviction that late Chief Ogbe Onokpite had no primary issues with any law enforcement agents because before he contested the governorship election on the platform of Citizens Peoples Party (CPP), requirements of the law as to his eligibility were determined by the appropriate authorities saddled with obligations of screening as to whether or not he was an eligible aspirant, qualified to contest an election as CPP governorship candidate.
“Late Chief Ogbe Onokpite was killed on Saturday, the 26th day of November 2011. He was besieged, captured and shot in both legs at Beeland Hotel, Orhuwhorun Road, Udu Local Government Area of Delta State and taken to Warri Police Area Command, where he was humiliated and summarily executed unlawfully, between 2:00pm and 3:00pm under the supervision of Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abutu Yaro.
He added, “On Sunday 27 November 2011, at about 7:30am, Mr. Mammer Tsafe, former Commissioner of Police, Delta State (now promoted AIG and in charge of Zone 2, Onikan-Lagos) came to Warri and addressed a press conference and alleged that a petty criminal, a gunrunner and an armed robber was killed by policemen in a gun battle with the police. To give effect to his assertions, he paraded one Mr. Maliki Okporokoro with two AK47 assault riffles and with 60 live ammunition.
“The police story was that Mr. Okporokoro was accosted at a police checkpoint in a Honda car with registration number AM 528 JRT belonging to Chief Ogbe Onokpite, transporting two AK47 assault riffles and 60 live ammunition. The police further stated that Mr. Okporokoro confessed to the alleged crime that he was sent by Chief Onokpite to deliver the arms and ammunition to one Mr. Collins Agbara, who resides at Agaga community in Uvwie LGA. The police further stated that Mr. Okporokoro was asked by the police team led by ASP Umara T. Ibrahim to direct the police to where Chief Ogbe Onokpite was staying (Beeland Hotels)”.
He added, “the police alleged that on their arrival at the Beeland Hotels, Mr. Malik Okporokoro pointed at Chief Ogbe Onokpite and that in the attempt by the police to arrest Chief Ogbe Onokpite, he fired at the police with a cut to size locally made gun. The police said that in fear of imminent danger and in self defence, the police fired at Chief Ogbe Onokpite to disarm him and the police were taking him to Warri General Hospital when he died on the way. Other suspects arrested along with Chief Ogbe Onokpite on that fateful day were Mr. Gbenga Onasuji, one Warri-based Magistrate driver and Mr. Malik Okporokoro”.
The lawyer said their independent investigation with facts deposed to by two witnesses (Gbenga Onasuji and Godwin Dumuje) raised reasonable suspicion that some politicians procured some men of the Delta State Police Command to commit the act. He noted that the police made attempt to frustrate every investigative effort into the killing of Ogbe Onokpite by setting up an investigative team made up of the killers Ogbe Onokpite.
“It was IGP Abubakar Mohammed, who authorised a genuine investigation and a serious follow up by Eriata and Partners later yield a good result”, he said.
He added, “the movement of the two AK47 riffles was investigated and traced from Central Armament Registry in Lagos to Delta State where the two AK47 were originally issued in 2007. Investigation revealed that Inspector Ibrahim Bako, the armourer of 31 PMF, Asaba, confirmed by his statement to the police investigative team that, the AK 47 riffles with breach number 20613 was assigned to CPl Donald Waziri, who was under ASP Bulama Maikawu. That when ASP Bulama was transferred to Osun State, he handed over the gun to ASP Ibrahim Umara and it was this gun that the Area Commander, ACP Abutu Yaro, instructed ASP Ibrahim Umara to handover to him (ACP Abutu Yaro) for the operation.
“The second riffle, AK47 with breach number 56-22613702, was issued to 31 MPF, Delta State Police Command. One SP Kevin Komieye Zuokumor, also attached to 31 MPF made statement to the investigative team that the riffle was issued to his squadron. The gun was reported to have been carted away by unknown armed robbers, who killed late Cpl Thirsty Naniwon, who was legally in possession of the gun, while on duty at the Government House, Asaba, Delta State. This was the gun the Area Commander, ACP Abutu Yaro brought from his bedroom and added to the one ASP Ibrahim T. Umara produced for the operation”.
The lawyer noted that “following the source of the two AK47 riffles, ACP Umara T. Ibrahim was invited by the CP Homicide for further interrogation.
He sated that Eriata & Partners gathered from reliable source that Umara T. Ibrahim voluntarily confessed, that the two riffles were planted by the police under the supervision of Abutu Yaro; that he took the riffles signed by his aide and usded it to actualise the plot to indict Ogbe Onokpite as a gun runner, armed robber and a notorious criminal; that the second AK47 said to have been snatched from a slain Police Corporal Thirsty Naniwon was brought by Abutu Yaro from his bedroom and ginen to him to add to the AK47 he collected from his aide; that British Egena and Orlando Owodo, who were later assassinated in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Abutu and himself executed the plot to falsely indict Ogbe Onokpite and subsequently murdered him”.
He stated further that from the facts of the case, the motive for the murder of Ogbe Onokpite, according to the police investigative report, was political, adding that the police officers involved allowed themselves to be used as tools by the politicians for their political gains. He added, “the late Chief Ogbe Onokpite has been vindicated posthumously that he was not a gunrunner, kidnapper and armed robber but the real criminals are the politicians and the police officers that were procured to commit the heinous crime. We call on every Nigerian with conscience and human face to come onboard to fight this injustice”.
However, Dr. Mrs. Veronica Ugbuagu in her tribute, described late Ogbe Onokpite as a man of steel, dogged fighter for any cause he believed in, hated oppression, hence a master planner of revenge missions against wicked and dubious politicians.
She said, “late Onokpite was truthful to a fault. He believed in speaking the truth in the presence of all and damned the consequences. I remembered vividly his boldness and outright rejection of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan’s request when he discussed about his political ambition with him in my house in 2007. I remembered I told Ogbe that, politics in Nigeria cannot be compared to politics in America. And that he should be very careful.
She added, “I remembered I told him about a fearful dream which I had concerning him, and I said it was not a good dream. I can go on recalling my dreams, I prayed deeply for him all throughout 2011 election period. I was shocked beyond words when the news of his death reached me. He was gruesomely murdered. He had a lot of enemies when he challenged the so called oil allocation slots on behalf of the Urhobo people”.
Onokpite’s wife, Mrs. Helen Alawuru-Onokpite, in her tribute said, “the man I got married to was a man of peace, activist and God-fearing person that was murdered on the 26th November, 2011, by men of the Nigerian Police Force on trump charges. He was a loving and a caring husband and a father to our daughter, Giggo, whom the enemies of good governance in Delta State did not allow to play a fatherly role in her life, as he has done in the lives of many down trodden citizens of Delta State through his foundation, Ogbe Forum.
“But to God be the glory for the gift of life, which no man has the right to take, I seek justice for my husband death’s, for he was brutalised and killed by state sponsored police men, this is not the dream of our fathers when the police force was created not to be used as assassins, state police cannot hold in this country, we will all be at the mercy of the governors, I wish to use this medium to appeal to President Goodluck Jonathan, Her Excellency Patience Jonathan, the Senate President, chairman, Human Rights Committee of the National Assembly, the Inspector General of Police and all other related agencies to help bring my husband killers to justice.
“ I have been turned to a widow at an early age and left to look after a baby of three years on my hands but God has been good to us, God bless every one involved in the struggle to get justice for the murder of my loving and caring husband. The quest for justice continues, the Lord is our strength”.
The burial ceremony was attended by top youths, politicians across the state and abroad.
Source: Daily Independent

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