The Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC) has called on the Police Service Commission (PSC) to order a prompt, exhaustive and effective investigation into the alleged release of a wealthy murder suspect, Mr. Anthony Onyeagolu, awaiting arraignment and trial for murder after police investigation, on the orders of CP Legal, Force Headquarters, Abuja, CP Austin Sanomia.
The Executive Director, RULAAC, Mr. Okechukwu Nwanguma who made this call in a statement in Lagos on Thursday said the investigation was with a view to determining the grounds and motive, if any, upon which the suspect could be released at midnight and to determine whether indeed the case file had been tampered with as alleged and appropriate remedial and disciplinary actions taken.
Nwanguma disclosed that the Centre had on Wednesday 22nd April, 2020, received the information that the murder suspect, Anthony Onyeagolu who was recently transferred from Homicide Section, FCID, Force Headquarters, Abuja to Anambra Police Headquarters, Awka at the conclusion of investigation and detained pending arraignment in Awka for murder had been released by the OC Legal Anambra State Police Command at midnight on Monday on the directives of the CP Legal, Force Headquarters, in what appears like a clandestine operation.
“We were also told that the case file has been ‘seriously tampered with’ and compromised”, he added.
He noted that upon receiving this information, RULAAC first made contacts with the SCID Awka and confirmed that the suspect was actually released at odd hours but without the knowledge of the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State, Mr John Abang.
According to him, “Yesterday, RULAAC made several calls, texted and sent WhatsApp messages to Mr. Austin Sanomia, CP Legal, Force Headquarters, Abuja to verify the information that he ordered the release and to understand why, but has received no answer or reply till the time of issuing this alert.
“Our repeated efforts to get the CP Legal to confirm or rebut the information have not yielded any result. We then, also sent the information to the DIG FCID, Michael Ogbizi but yet to get his response.
“Elder George Okoye, elder brother to the deceased in an SOS sent to DIG FCID, Michael Ogbizi and forwarded to RULAAC said his family members and community have been thrown back into sorrow.
“Narrating the trajectory of the murder and the tortuous efforts to get the Police to arrest the suspects and investigate them, he reminded the DIG that ‘We petitioned the Force Headquarters on 3/1/19 over the alleged murder of our brother, Angus Okoye in Isuaniocha, Awka by Anthony Onyeagolu and others. A long drawn investigation by officer Amuche who is now with the IGP Monitoring Unit was frustrated by a former DC now CP Anyim of Homicide.
‘We were ridiculed as a poor family while our brother’s dead body lies in the mortuary till date… God touched your heart; out of our prayers we received a call from the IPO Bitrus sometime in September 2019 who said you invited us to revisit our case under DC Anyim. We were reluctant because we knew the end would be like this under the same Ayim, now CP in the same case. But we were later convinced by Bitrus to come which we did and actually the 3 suspects were eventually arrested a year after the murder, for the first time.
‘Now after concluding the investigation by the IPO under the same CP Ayim, the case was again killed in connivance with the CP Legal to the earlier fear I expressed. Right now the murderers are enjoying freedom without going to court having been released in the midnite on 20/4/20 in suspected circumstance due to their compromise as usual…Sir, where is your promise that the deceased family will get justice.
‘The same murder-in-chief was released from SCID Awka in readiness for arraignment that led to the killing of my brother…. Worst still, the case file was emptied by your legal men in connivance with your CP to get soft landing in the court for their wealthy benefactor which they could not even wait to arraign them to justify their own side of the bargain with him….’”
The Executive Director therefore submitted that the hope for justice by the widow and six children, and indeed all family members of Angus Okoye (deceased) of Isuaniocha, Anambra State appeared to have again, been cut short after what seemed like light in the horizon, after more than one year of intrigues and desperate attempts to derail investigation, subvert justice and shield the financially influential suspect from justice.
He further stated that majority members of Isuaniocha community who had been crying and yearning for justice over this heinous crime, among others, and whose hopes were raised by the progress made were again thrown into shock and despondency by the recent shocking surreptitious release from custody of the murder mastermind before he could be charged to court.
“RULAAC calls on the Police Service Commission (PCS) to order a prompt, exhaustive and effective investigation into this incident, with a view to determining the grounds and motive, if any, upon which an accused person awaiting arraignment for murder could be released at midnight and to determine whether indeed, case file has been tampered with as alleged. Appropriate remedial and disciplinary actions should be taken”, he said.
Photo: Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu.
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