June 23, 2024

Man dies in police custody in Akwa Ibom

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Man dies in police custody in Akwa Ibom

… family ordered to provide money for autopsy

Ofonime Honesty, Uyo

The police in Akwa Ibom State have been accused of seizing the corpse of one Mr Isopida Etim Udosen, who passed away in its custody on 25 July 2019.

Udosen, 54 and father of eight hailed from the Ikot Obok community in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom State.

He, alongside his kinsman, Mr Etim Thompson, was arrested on 24th July 2019, by officers from the Anti-cultism Unit of the Akwa Ibom State Police Command on the instructions of the village council which accused the duo of cultism and fomenting trouble by refusing to relinquish ownership of oil palm trees to the community.

According to Mr Thompson, the deceased passed away after he was led out of the cell by officers on the night of 25th July 2019.

He alleged that he personally sighted the corpse after the officers ordered him to identify it.

Also speaking, a son of the deceased, Mr Uduak Isopida Etim, lamented that the village council led by one Paul Davies, who was one of the signatories to the petition against his late father, has now seized ownership of the palm trees and has vowed to deal with anyone who tries to oppose the development.

He alleged that he saw bruises on his father’s corpse which is currently held by the police.

Man dies in police custody in Akwa Ibom

Narrating further, Mr Uduak Isopida said the family filed a suit in court against the police and the village council but withdrew the case and took the same to the EndSARS Commission of Inquiry as instructed by the state government.

Four years after the panel submitted its report to the state government, the panel’s recommendations have not been made public or implemented.

The police have told the family of the deceased that the panel’s recommendation on the issue must be communicated to them before they accept to release the corpse to the family.

According to the family, Commissioner for Police, Olatoye Duronsimi, has personally ordered his family to provide money for the autopsy.

He appealed to the Akwa Ibom State Government to expedite action in ensuring that victims of police brutality get justice. He also solicited the release of the white paper of the Commission of Inquiry.

Police Public Relations Officer, Odiko Macdon, did not respond to this reporter’s request for the police’s side of the story.

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