By Archibong Jeremiah
The Adjudicating Officer in the orderly room trial of some police officers over their alleged murder of one Mr. Stanley Etim in Calabar last year has recommended that the suspects be dismissed and made to face the law.
The police men were accused of arresting, detaining and torturing Mr. Etim to death and after protest from the family, and inquiry was instituted which led to their orderly room trial.
Part of the recommendations of the trial to the State Commissioner of Police advised the outright dismissal of the affected police men and their arraignment in court to pay for their culpability in the allegations.
CrossRiverWatch was also informed by impeccable sources that the accused officers during and after the orderly room trial are still free, and not in detention as has been the practice.
With this recommendation of the Adjudicating Officer, it is now left for the Cross River State Commissioner of Police to confirm the verdict after which the file will be transferred to the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) for advice to ascertain the possibility of prosecuting them in the High Court.
When contacted, James Ibor, Esq. Lead Counsel, to the deceased family said he was satisfied with the recommendations of CSP Asuquo Ebong but had some reservations.
He further expressed bitterness that the accused are not behind bars. In his words: “We are surprised for the heinous crime they committed, the police investigation report indicted them, the orderly room trial indicted them and they are still walking free, endangering the lives of witnesses”.
He disclosed that, “They’ve been dishing threats and even attempting to crack into the homes of some of the witnesses. The witnesses’ feels threatened that these rampaging murderers have not been put where they belong.”
The lawyer also accused the Police of having a grand plan to help the suspects escape prosecution, adding that part of the grand plan is to allow the accused threaten the witnesses but vehemently said, “It will not work, justice must take its course and we will stop at nothing in fighting for it, mark my words”.
Late Stanley Etim, age 23 was allegedly beaten to death while in police custody on the 5th of February 2015. The Police later alleged that the victim died of stomach ulcer but an autopsy carried out on 22nd of April 2015 in the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH), proved them wrong by revealing that he died of “extensive blunt head and limb (upper and lower) injuries” which is a cause of death occasioned by torture.
The accused officers include Inspector Unoh Egwu, Sergeant Peter Njoku, Corporal Bassey Okim and late Inspector Uche Aligu who died last year after allegations that he went to do charms and on returning he had an accident around Akamkpa and died.