From EBEN ENASCO KINGSLEY, Benin City
JUNE 19, 2016, Benson Obodeh, from Ubierumu in Uromi, Esan North East Local Government Area of Edo State would have been 27-yrs-old, but could death courtesy of four policemen attached to the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad, Lagos.
Adedeji Adeleke, Oniyo Musa, Abena John, and Henry Shobowale were earlier dismissed from the service for deliberately killing the victim after arresting him on the 21 May, 2015 at his residence in Benin City for phantom alleged robbery charges.
They were subsequently arraigned at the High Court 2 sitting in Benin City. A fifth police officer, Joseph Omotosho, an accomplice from Edo state Command was also part of those facing prosecution.
The case filed by the claimant, the attorney-general of Edo state against the dismissed officers had in its submission a-three-count charge of conspiracy and murder of one Benson Obodeh, an offence punishable under Section 390 of the Criminal Code Cap 48 and 319(1) under the laws of the defunct Bendel State of Nigeria of 1976 as applicable to Edo state.
Counsel to the claimant, Barr. Oluwole Iyamu, told the court that the respondent was duly served to appear in court for an alleged murder case but refused to append signatures to those effects, adding that the 5th defendant was also not in court.
The defendants Counsel, Barrister Otunba Goke Olukalshin, argued that his client was not properly served as required by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He observed that such practice was against the rules of fair hearing especially as the case was said to be a capital offence.
However, the presiding judge, Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele expressed disappointment on why one of the accused officers, Constable Joseph Omotosho was absent in the court.
Justice Ovbiagele also noted that the counsel to other culprits were absent as well but prayed that both should be properly informed to appear during the next sitting for commencement of the case.
The case was, however, adjourned till June 7, 2016 as both counsel pleaded for more time to put their house in order.
It would be recalled that Obodeh was arrested by the police on the 21 May, 2015 and killed the same day after being subjected to torture. His corpse was later dumped at the Specialist Hospital, Benin City with a different name by one of the police Corporals that killed him.
Not done with that, they had collected and obtained his First Bank ATM card with which they withdrew N330, 000 from his account using Ecobank and First Bank branches in Port Harcourt.
The former Lagos State Police Spokesperson, DSP Kenneth Nwosu later disclosed the death of the boy to the National Daily on the 24th July, 2015, 64 days after he was brutally murdered at the SARS office in Benin City and kept away from the family. They had alleged the victim bought a stolen car, a case that has no known complainant.
After thorough investigation by the police authorities, the cops were dismissed from the service.