A Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt last week convicted and sentenced to death by hanging, two former members of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad for the extra-judicial killing of two friends in 2009, in Oyigbo Local Government Area of the State.
Assistance Superintendent of Police, Samuel Chigbu, Shedrack Ibibo, Magnus Awuri, Ogoligo, and Olisa Emeka who were members of the disbanded SARS team, were arrested and have been standing trial for killing Michael Akor and Michael Igwe
But ASP Samuel Chigbu and Ogoligo died in custody at the correctional center in Port Harcourt, while Shedrack Ibibo, Magnus Awuri, and Olisa Emeka continued with the trial.The trial Judge, Justice M.O. Opara in her judgment found Shedrack Ibibo and Magus Awuri guilty of conspiracy and murder, but discharge and acquitted Olisa Emeka, saying the prosecution was able to prove their case.
Mother to one of the deceased, Catherine Akor expressed satisfaction over the judgment, despite her son’s death. Reacting to the judgment, A human rights lawyer Tope Temokun described it as justice served and justice well-deserved, noting that a country can only thrive and succeed if there is justice.
Praising the judge for the courage to deliver such a landmark judgment, the legal luminary, insisted that any society that acculturates injustice into its culture is doomed to an inglorious end. “Justice M.O. Opara’s name will go down in history as one of the makers of a new Nigeria if we survive this holocaust of misgovernance we are currently passing through.
Michael Akor and Michael Igwe were arrested on June 22, 2009, at Oyigbo, Rivers state by SARS officers for alleged stealing. The next day, their dead bodies were found in the bush. The SARS officers allegedly went to the house of the victims and took away all their property.
Following outcry by human rights groups, five SARS officers Samuel Chigbu, Shedrack Ibibo, Magus Awuri, Ogoligo, and Olisa Emeka were arrested, and after an orderly room trial dismissed by the police and charged with murder.
In September 2017, a court sitting in Port Harcourt found the ex-officers guilty of extrajudicial killing and ordered the police force to pay N50 million as compensation to the families of the victims. Two of the accused officers Samuel Chigbu and Ogoligo died in the prison facility in Port Harcourt during the course of the trial. One of the officers Olisa Emeka was acquitted.