Friday, 28 October 2011


Investigations indicate that the suspected kidnappers were executed by the police in cold blood, raising concerns about the legal powers of the police to act as investigators, prosecutors, judges and implementers of judgments.

 Our correspondent reports that thousands of residents in  Eket metropolis thronged the police station to catch a glimpse of the remains of the suspects whose bodies were displayed in the premises.
 Policemen at the station were having a tough time controlling the large crowd that converged on the station, creating a chaotic situation.
 Members of the public who could not gain access to the station took up all available spaces in the neighborhood to gaze at the lifeless bodies left in a pool of blood.
 Two police sources in Eket confirmed the incident, and said that the men died in a routine operation against kidnappers.
 But a police informant told our correspondent that, contrary to the official police version, the suspects were assembled from different locations and executed in Eket Police Division.
 “It is shocking and cruel that the police would execute people without properly handing them over for prosecution, and then create a mindless exhibition of their bodies,” said a human rights lawyer in Akwa Ibom. He added that, unless citizens recognized the dangers of such jungle justice, the police could easily kill innocent people by tagging them kidnappers.
 SaharaReporters could not reach Onyeka Orji, the police spokesman in Akwa Ibom, for comments. We made several calls to his cell phone, but he never responded.
 The Eket area has been plagued by kidnap and robbery activities in recent times. Over the weekend, a security team freed two captains of vessels at the Qua Iboe oil fields.
 Our correspondent spoke to numerous members of the public who came out to view the bodies of the alleged kidnappers. Some of the witnesses applauded the police for smashing the kidnap syndicate which had terrorized the area, but others condemned the act of executing suspected criminals and lying that they died in a cross-fire. “The state should have prosecuted them since the law recommends death sentence for kidnapping,” said one of the witnesses.
 Another witness, a local teacher, said: “No matter how noble the objectives were, killing people in cold blood on mere suspicion amounts to abuse of powers. Since they were caught alive, they should have been made to face the law.”
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