Thursday, 9 March 2017

Apo 6: Judgment step in right direction – CSOs

Some civil society organisations on Thursday described the conviction of two policemen involved the killing of six traders in Apo, Abuja in 2005 as victory for tenacity and democracy.
Justice Ishaq Bello, Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, sentenced Emmanuel Baba and Ezekiel Acheneje to death on Thursday over the killing of Anthony Nwokike, Tina Arebun and Ifeanyi Ozo.
The other traders murdered by the convicted cops along with their two other colleagues, Danjuma Ibrahim and Othman Abdulsalami (at large) and one deceased, were Chinedu Meniru, Isaac Ekene, Paulinus Ogbonna.
The deceased were said to have been shot dead on the orders of another police officer, at a popular night club, the only female victim, Tina, turned down a senior police officer’s love advances at the club.
Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, Chairman, Partners for Electoral Reform (PER) told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the judgment showed that the judiciary could stand up expediently to deliver justice.
Nwagwu said that death sentence on the police officers was well-deserved, adding that it was a show of perseverance by the public.
“This judgment symbolised what perseverance and doggedness can do. When citizens don’t give up on the pursuit of justice, they are likely going to get the results that they desire.
“It was because the `Apo six’ issues were not allowed to die that we were able to get the kind the result we had today.
“So, it is victory for doggedness, perseverance and victory for democracy as well as justice to the ordinary person,’’ he said.
He urged Nigerians to stay strong on what they believed and what was right, saying “when advocacy is very strong on any matter, the desired result will be achieved’’.
Mr Frank Tietie, President, Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER), said the judgment was a welcomed development for the nation’s democracy and portended safety of life of the common man.
He said that the spate of taking citizens’ lives illegally by law enforcement agents had been on the rise, but that the judgment by Justice Bello would send a strong message to perpetrators.
“This will trigger a sense of respect for lives to all Nigerians, especially the arms-bearing law enforcement agents, that when they deprive anyone the fundamental right to life as provided in Section 33 of the Constitution, there is penalty.
“They would be punished and be possibly given the death penalty as in this case.
“Nigeria is one of the countries that still retain the death penalty. This is underscored by the value of human life in Nigeria.
“Therefore, anyone who takes the life of another deliberately and in cold blood must also be deprived of his or her life.
“However worrisome is the length of time it took to dispense with the case. In an act of crime which took place as far back as 2005, it has taken about 12 years just at the court of first instance to give judgment,’’ Tietie said.
He urged the judiciary to step up its judgment, especially in cases that had to do with taking the life of another deliberately in cold blood and ensure that anybody involved should also be deprived of his or her own life. 



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