Court convicts 5 SARS officials in Rivers over extra judicial killing


A five-man team of men of the Special Anti Robbery Sqaud (SARS), led by one ASP Samuel Chigbu have been found guilty of extra judicially killing two young men, Michael Akor and Michael Igwe at Oyigbo Local government area of Rivers State.

Justice Adolphus Enebeli of the High Court in Port Harcourt, while ruling in the enforcement of fundamental human rights suit before him, declared that ASP Samuel Chigbu and his men undoubtedly and intentionally killed the two young men.
He said the SARS officials violated Sections of the constitution on extrajudicial executions, adding that no investigation was carried out by the Police before killing the young graduates.
Justice Enebeli in the judgment said after careful consideration of all the evidences before him, it was clear that the SARS men failed in their responsibility to investigate and try the two Michaels before killing them.
He said claims that the two Michaels were hit with bullets during a cross fire between the Police and some gunmen perceived to members of their alleged gang could not be substantiated.
He also said “it is not a coincidence that the two Michaels were shot at the same part of their body, died at the Braithwaite Memorial Hospital at the same time and buried at the same place and time.”
The Judge said SARS in Rivers state has acquired “the notoriety of extra judicial killings, destroying the image of the Rivers state Police Command.”
The court awarded the sum of fifty million naira to the families of the deceased as compensation to be paid by the Inspector General of Police and the Commissioner of Police in Rivers state.
Meanwhile, Counsel to the deceased, Johnson Ejekwu has said a death sentence for the convicted SARS officials led by ASP Samuel Chigbu and his men is what his clients desires and not the fifty million naira compensation.
Ejekwu also commended the court for its verdict and called on relevant agencies to curb the excesses of Men of the Special Anti Robbery Squad in RIvers state.
For her part, Catherine Akor, the ageing mother of Michael Akor said no amount of compensation can replace what she had lost.
Catherine Akor while speaking with the Media after the judgment said she also lost her husband who, “suffered memory loss as a result of the killing of their son.
“Those SARS men killed my child for doing nothing. They went to my son’s house and packed his things then took him to ATM where he withdrew money for them.
“When I made the complain at the command they queried them and transferred them out of Rivers state but somehow they manipulated their way back to this state.
“That was when we noticed and reported them again before they now brought them to court,” the teary woman said.
ASP Samuel Chigbu and four other SARS officers have since been dismissed from the Police Force.
They are also standing trial on murder charges and extrajudicial execution before Justice Margaret Opara of the High Court in Port Harcourt.

Twenty eight year old Michael Akor and his colleague, Michael Igwe were arrested while going about their duties on June 22, 2009 and killed in a bush at Oyigbo on June 23, 2009.
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