*As former Deputy Speaker, others give police ultimatum to capture escapee
There is palpable public outrage against the Rivers State Police Command over the escape from police custody of a 23 year-old University of Port Harcourt, UNIPORT, student who was last weekeend arrested for the killing of his 8 year old niece for money ritual.
The suspect, Mr. Ifeanyi Dike, beat all the security personal and apparatuses in the state police Criminal Investigation Department, CID, when he bolted from the custody of police the officer handling his matter, in the presence of the father of the victim, and run into safety.
Following the shocking escape, individuals and groups have continued to condemned what they alleged to be involvement and laxity on the part of the police in the escape saga.
In condemning the incident, a former Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Leyi Kwanee, gave the Rivers state police 48 hours hours to re-arrest the suspected criminal or face serious protest from Rivers people against the police, adding that it was strange to witness such an incident in a highly secured place as the state CID.
The former Deputy Speaker said: “This is a case that has drawn condemnation from well meaning Nigerians and the bereaved family. If the police allow this, it means we are no longer secure. Criminals will suddenly disappear from detention. I do hope that the commissioner of police will be able to get to the root of the matter in the next 48 hours or else, some of us will mobilize forces against the police in Rivers state.
“He advised that proper investigation be carried out because the matter, he said, must not be taken lightly, saying “That suspect must be re-arrested and made to face the law.
Another prominent citizen in the state, a public affairs analyst, Mr. Jackson Ojo, criticized the Nigerian police for the escape of the suspected ritualist, alleging that the police were involved in the cover up.
He stated: “I weep for Nigeria. I am telling you that this is a total conspiracy between, not particularly the suspect, but somebody or persons who would have been behind this. If that suspect is arrested by the police, definitely he is going to reveal the secret of the sponsors.
“If the commissioner of police descends on these people, definitely it would serve as a deterrent to others. They should get rid of satanic police officers in the midst of the good police officers in Nigeria,” he said.
A Human Rights activist, Mr. H. King, has on his part, described the development as unacceptable, adding that the officers involved in the case should be held responsible and sanctioned accordingly.
Mr. King alleged that the case might be connected with some highly placed individuals who planned the suspect’s escape from police custody in order to cover up their crime.
According to him, “For the young man that was caught just on Saturday to escape on Sunday night is curious. The officers who made it possible for the guy to escape must be held responsible. How can you do that? That means there is more conspiracy to the crime. That means highly placed people are involved.
“Why haven’t all the people in the state CID escaped? The next thing you will hear now is that the boy is dead so that everything will be concealed. Let them get to the root of this. This is callous. This is unheard of. I mean we are disappointed,” he lamented.
A retired security expert, Mr. Chinedu Owhunda, has asked the Nigerian police to collaborate with other security agencies to capture the suspect. He said it was embarrassing for the police to allow such a criminal to escape from their custody.
Mr. Owhunda warned that the situation may encourage jungle justice if the suspect was not re-arrested as soon as possible. In a situation where this kind of crime can be committed and the person is allowed to escape means that there will be a continuum in the practice of jungle justice because people don’t have confidence in the police force any longer. The image of the police is already dented.
“With what has happened now, SSS must be involved and other security agencies so that they will track him and get him arrested. I’m sure he is still within the shores of the country. He should be arrested because there’s more to this. If he is arrested you will hear more.
Meanwhile the Rivers State Police Command has released the photo of the suspected ritualist who escaped from police custody on Sunday night. The state commissioner of police, Mr. Zaki Ahmed, has also appealed to the public for useful information that would help in the re-arrest of Ifeanyi Dike.
The police image maker in the state, DSP Nnamdi Omoni, told journalists when Ifeanyi Dike was paraded on Saturday that the suspect lured his 8 year old niece, Miss Chikaso Ezewuba into his room, got her defiled and mutilated her body, taking away her eyes, one breast, vagina, two small fingers money, and part of her forehead for ritual purposes.
DSP Omoni said that the suspect has made useful confessional statements to the police.
The suspect, Ifeanyi Dike, a 200 level student in UNIPORT confessed to the offence, admitting that certain persons wanted the organs and promised to pay him handsomely to pull him out of the poverty line.
Amaka Agbu, Port Harcourt