Apo Six – Justice delayed again, as court adjourns till March 9

A court used to illustrate the story
A court used to illustrate the story

A Federal Capital Territory High Court on Monday adjourned till March 9, the final judgement in the case of alleged extra-judicial killings of six Igbo traders by the police in Abuja in 2005.

Five police officers were found culpable in the killings and are facing trial.

Judgement had been set to be delivered on Monday, 11 years after the act.

Justice Ishaq Bello of the FCT High Court, however, failed to deliver judgement and adjourned the suit.

The protracted trial has been hindered mostly due to institutional challenges ranging from series of adjournments, conveyance of defendants from the prison to court and difficulty in getting witnesses to testify.

Danjuma Ibrahim, Othman Abdulsalami, now at large, Nicholas Zakaria, Ezekiel Acheneje, Baba Emmanuel, and Sadiq Salami were alleged to have murdered the victims who were traders in Apo, a satellite town in Abuja.

The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation is accusing the police officers of killing Ifeanyi Ozo, Chinedu Meniru, Isaac Ekene, Paulinus Ogbonna, Anthony Nwokikeand Augustina Arebun.

The deceased, aged between 21 and 25 years, were returning from a night party in 2005 when they were killed.

The defendants had pleaded not guilty to the allegations, making the trial to go through full stretch of adjudication from 2005 to date.

The nation woke up to the horrific news of the victims deaths at the hands of the police who claimed the five men and one woman were armed robbers who opened fire first.

Following the deaths and the subsequent public outcry, an official panel of inquiry was set up by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Nigeria Police Force
Nigeria Police Force

Five officers accused of the killings and eight other police witnesses eventually testified that the senior officer involved, Ibrahim, allegedly ordered the killings.

The report of the panel held that the victims were at a nightclub located at Gimbiya Street, Area 11 in Abuja on the night of the incident.

The panel further had it on its record that the face-off between Ibrahim and the group allegedly started when the female victim (Augustina) turned down the senior police officer’s love advances at the club.

The testimonies of the witnesses that formed part of the panel’s report also said that Ibrahim’s pride and ego was bruised by late Augustina’s refusal to accept his love proposal and, therefore, set out to exact revenge.

The report also said Ibrahim had allegedly gone to a police checkpoint at the end of the street and told officers on duty that they were a group of armed robbers in the area.

According to the report which forms the bulk of the evidence in court, when the six young people came in their car, Ibrahim allegedly drove into them, blocking their way and ordered the police officers to shoot.

Four of the six died on the spot while Ifeanyi and Augustina had survived the initial onslaught.

The report had it that Ifeanyi had called his friends after surviving the burst of gunfire but that was the last they were to hear from him.

NAN reports that police officers testified at the criminal trial that Ifeanyi and Augustina were taken outside Abuja metropolis where they were executed.

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