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Will Justice Ever Prevail Over The “Apo 6” Killing?

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The FCT High Court, presided over by Justice Ishaq Bello, on Monday
adjourned till March 9, judgment in the alleged extra judicial killing
of six Apo traders.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Attorney General of
the Federation in 2005 charged six police officers to court for the
alleged killing of the traders, now popularly referred to as “Apo Six”.
The accused persons were arraigned on a 9-count charge of conspiracy
and culpable homicide, which contravened the provisions of Sections 97
and 221 (a) of the Penal Code Law.
The police officers standing trial in the case were: Danjuma Ibrahim,
Othman Abdulsalami , Nicholas Zakaria, Ezekiel Acheneje, Baba Emmanuel
and Sadiq Salami.
They were charged with culpable homicide over alleged killing of the
traders: Ifeanyi Ozor, Chinedu Meniru, Isaac Ekene, Paulinus Ogbonna,
Anthony Nwodike and Augustina Arebun.
At the adjourned date on Monday for the judgment, both the defence
and prosecuting counsel were in court and the new date was taken for the
judgment.
The deceased, aged between 21 years and 25 years, were returning from a night party in 2005 when they were allegedly killed.
The defendants had pleaded not guilty to the allegations, making the
trial to go through full stretch of adjudication from 2005 to date.
The date was June 7, 2005, when the popular “Apo six’’ unaware of the
terrible fate that lay ahead set out for a night of fun and merry
making.
The nation woke up to the horrific news of their deaths at the hands
of the police who claimed the five men and woman, gunned down were armed
robbers who opened fire first.
The case which came to be known as ‘Apo Six’ captured the attention of the public for a long time.
Following the deaths and the subsequent public outcry, an official
panel of inquiry was set up by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Five officers accused of the killings and eight other police
witnesses eventually testified that the senior officer involved, Ibrahim
allegedly ordered the killings.
The report of the panel held that the victims were at a nightclub
located at Gimbiya Street, Area 11 in Abuja on the night of the
incident.
The panel further had it on its record that the face-off between
Ibrahim and the group allegedly started when the female victim
(Augustina) turned down the senior police officer’s love advances at the
club.
The testimonies of the witnesses that formed part of the panel’s
report also said that Ibrahim’s pride and ego was bruised by late
Augustina’s refusal to accept his love proposal and, therefore, set out
for revenge.
The report also said Ibrahim had allegedly gone to a police
checkpoint at the end of the street and told officers on duty that they
were a group of armed robbers in the area.
According to the report which forms the bulk of the evidence in
court, when the six young people came in their car, Ibrahim allegedly
drove into them, blocking their way and ordered the police officers to
shoot.
Four of the six died on the spot while Ifeanyi and Augustina had survived the initial onslaught.
The report had it that Ifeanyi had called his friends after surviving
the burst of gunfire but that was the last they were to hear from him.
NAN reports that police officers had testified at the criminal trial
that Ifeanyi and Augustina were taken to a piece of rough ground outside
town where they were executed.
The officers had allegedly planted guns on the bodies of all six of
the bodies and pictures were taken of them by a police photographer.
NAN reports that the photographer who took the pictures was later to raise an alarm and release the pictures.
In a curious twist, Mr. Anthony Edem, one of the officers close to the case was poisoned after deciding to confess.
An autopsy report from the National Hospital Abuja confirmed he died
of poisoning which also formed part of the numerous exhibits before the
court. (NAN)

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