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Family accuses Bayelsa police of shielding killers of teenager

By Samuel Tombra, Yenagoa

The father of slain teenager, Innocent Kokorifa killed by policemen in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Daniel has accused the police of trying to shield the police team that killed his son.

According to the father of the deceased, since his son was gunned down by the police on August 18, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi, had yet to visit his family and commiserate with them.

The aggrieved father said in an era of change under President Muhammadu Buhari, the police had demonstrated the same impunity which the current administration said it had come to change, in the case of his son’s alleged extra-judicial killing.

Kokorifa was shot dead in mysterious circumstances by the Anti-Vice/Anti-Kidnapping team of the Bayelsa police command along the Airforce Road, on August 18. 

He was said to be running an errand for his mother, Pere, when he was killed in mysterious circumstances by the policemen who deposited his remains at the mortuary of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Yenagoa. 

The father of the deceased, an officer of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) insisted that his first child out of five children, was murdered in cold blood. 

He said the victim who was to turn 18 on September 9 was a peacemaker, a non-smoker who had no records of criminality. 

“We are talking about my first son that I invested so much on and was preparing him to live his dream of becoming a lawyer. The police snatched him away from me in an unprofessional manner. Yet, there is no sympathy from the police. They are not handling the matter very well. It seems they want to deny me and my dead son justice. 

“I heard that the particular persons who shot my son was arrested and taken to Zone 5 in Benin. I have not confirmed because there is no official channel communicating to me. The police must show transparency in the handling of this case so that the law will take its full course”, the father said. 

He said in the spirits of transparency, the identities of members of the police team that shot and killed his son should be made public. 

“We have been mourning since this incident happened. We can’t stop mourning Innocent because we love him so much. My wife has been a shadow of herself and my other children are still thinking that one day their big brother will come home. What we demand is justice”, he said. 

The murder of Kokorifa has attracted deluge of criticisms against the police from members of the public. 

Hundreds of youths, women and activists at the weekend trooped to the streets of Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, to protest the alleged extra-judicial killing of a 17-year-old Ijaw youth, Master Innocent Kokorifa. 

But the police in a statement signed by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Butswat Asinim, said the victim died in a gun battle between a three-man notorious armed robbery gang and the police squad. 

 Aggrieved youths and activists took off from the NUJ Secretariat, Azikoro Road and marched towards police command headquarters but were stopped by the police at the Onopa axis of the Mbiama-Yenagoa road. 

They displayed placards and banners with inscriptions, “police are to protect lives and properties, not to kill innocent citizens”, not every Bayelsa youth is a criminal”, police, please stop the killings”, “we say no to police brutality and many others. 

The deceased father, who joined the protest broke down in tears and said: “Today, I am in pains. We want to send signal to the world that my son was brutally killed by policemen and we are telling the world that this injustice of the police should stop”. 

Speaking on the development, the Deputy Speaker of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) and Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Youth, Mr. Tare Porri, said the police committed abomination. 

He said: “For us the police have done something that can be best termed abomination in Ijaw land, they just tagged a promising young man a thief when they did not even see a single gun in his hand.

“Instead of protecting properties and lives of young people, they maim, kill and brutalize and violate the rights of young people in our environment.

“For us as Ijaw youths, we frown at it. We condemn it in its entirety and we are sending this message to the world, to all security agencies that are resident in Bayelsa state that we the Ijaw people are not happy. 

“We are calling the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to quickly set up a team to investigate this matter. We don’t want the Bayelsa State command of the police to investigate this case.

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