SEVEN months after Mr. Chikwendu Ibekwe died in the police custody at the State Criminal Investigation Department in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, his family is still crying for justice over his death.
It was learnt that the family rejected the sum N310,000 offered to them by the police as compensation for Ibekwe’s death.
Ibekwe, a 42-year-old vulcaniser, who hailed from Umuobiakwa Nsirimo in Umuahia South Local Government of Abia State, was arrested on April 6, 2017 for allegedly buying a stolen tyre.
It was gathered that the deceased was initially detained at the Ubakala Police Station before he was transferred to D7, where he reportedly died after falling sick.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr. Geoffrey Ogbonna, had in an interview with Southern City News in April said that the deceased was arrested because the vehicle of a kidnapped victim was traced to his workshop.
Ogbonna added that while in detention, the deceased became aggressive and started hitting himself on the wall of the cell before he became sick and was taken to the police clinic where he died.
The deceased’s family, however, said they had not received fair treatment from the Nigeria Police Force in whose custody their son, who left behind a widow and two children, died.
An uncle of the deceased, Alozie, who spoke with Southern City News, said the family felt embarrassed at the amount of money that the police offered them as compensation after seeking an amicable resolution of the matter.
He said, “The last meeting we had with the police was in August when they said we should cost what it would take to bury our brother, but we told them that we cannot cost it because the deceased had a family, his children, wife and aged parents that were relying on him before he died.
“We told them to do the costing themselves since they want us to settle amicably.
“In the month of September, they invited us and they said they had N310,000 to give, but we rejected the offer. We told them that the amount cannot handle the burial, let alone give something to the deceased’s family.
“We told them to go back to their drawing board and organise themselves. For now, that is where we are. Since then, they have not called us to tell us anything again.
“I have requested that we should be allowed to see the new Commissioner of Police for us to negotiate with him, but the officers handling the matter said no. They claimed that the new Commissioner of Police does not know anything about this matter.”
Alozie said what the family wanted was for the police to foot the burial bill of the deceased and to give a reasonable amount of money to the family that he left behind, so that the education of his children would not suffer.
He said, “There is no amount of money given to us that will be able to bring our brother back to life. All we are after is to make sure that they release the corpse for us to bury.
“They should arrange for the casket, ambulance and pay the mortuary bills, then give his widow something to continue with life.”