Late Chima Ikwunado’s family, the police, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), members of Ohanaze Ndigbo, some traders at Ikoku spare parts markets, and medical experts were among those who went to UPTH to identify the body and carry out an autopsy on Chima, the mechanic that was killed in police custody by members of E-Crack Unit of the Rivers State Command recently.
After a long campaign following the gruesome death, it was agreed that the family would come with the police on Monday for identification and a fresh autopsy on the body since the earlier claimed autopsy by the police was rejected. The police report had claimed the deceased died of diabetes but the public and human rights community insist he was tortured to death.
The owner of the car he was apprehended driving against traffick that brought about the torture and eventual death had alerted the public prior to police admission of Chima’s death that very reliable inside source informed him that the police interrogators did “over work” on Chima.
Reports from the morgue indicate that Chima was heavily tortured before his death, confirming that information.
“Chima was brutally tortured; his inside is reported full of congealed blood”, one of the reports on Facebook stated. It called on the federal government to move fast as the high level of brutality observed, is beyond Chima or E-Crack, concluding, “this is uniformed terrorism for want of access to N150,000”
Chairman of Rivers Civil Society Organizations, Enefaa Georgewill, who led his members to the hospital narrated that when Chima’s father, Kelvin Ikwunado, saw the body, he shouted: ‘This is not my son’.
He said the marks on late Chima’s body were horrible as he was tortured to death, regardless of the outcome of the autopsy report.
Georgewill explained that the body looked older than Chima making identification difficult but doctors calmed Chima’s father down and urged him to check on other features of his son like the shape of the head and ear. After careful checks, the father and some who were with Chima at the police cell where he died confirmed that the body shown to them was Chima.
Chima’s father, said the amount of injuries on the deceased’s body is beyond imagination.
According to him, as the pathologist was opening Chima’s body, all the blood inside his body was congealed, black and thick with deep wounds all over. He said Chima’s body was looking brutalized, manhandled and dehumanized.
The autopsy was carried out before members of the civil society, Ohaneze Ndigbo and direct family of Chima.
The father commended the autopsy process and expressed faith in the expected result hoping the long wait would not give room for manipulation. The result is expected 10 days from the autopsy date.
The pathologist, Dr Stephen Musa said the result would be out in less than 10 days.
He said,”We have done both external and internal examination and we have seen pathological evidence on the body that would help us to conclude the cause of death.
“We took a few samples that would be analyzed to confirm the timings under microscopic examination, the pictures taken during the autopsy and the autopsy report and death certificate would be communicated through the right channel.
“We are hopeful that in less than 10 days this report would be handed over.”
Responding to questions on the possibility of an earlier autopsy as claimed by the Rivers Police Command claiming Chima died from high sugar level, Dr Musa said, “This body before me that I examined with the observation of a pathologist shows no dissection that would suggest an autopsy to me”.
Enefa Georgewill said the injuries on Chima’s body were horrible and gory, stating that the decaying injuries indicated that the deceased suffered brutal torture with machete cuts before his death.
He said: “We have confirmed that the body is Chima and we must say that with the level of torture that was meted out on him, it was out of this world. Chima was tortured to death, we saw cracked bones, handcuffs and neck cuffs wounds among others. The whole of his hands were macheted. This is wickedness in the highest place even when torture has been outlawed in our constitution.
“The police that was meant to protect citizens decided to maltreat a citizen to this level.
The result of the fresh autopsy is still being awaited as at press time but the medical experts that conducted the autopsy said there was no sign that an earlier autopsy has been carried out the deceased.
Determined to hold police to account for the extra-judicial killing of Chima, the Rivers State Civil Society Organizations at the forefront of pushing for justice for late Chima and the (Ikoku 4) recently launched an online petition campaign which has so far received more than 5500 signatories. The petition is demanding an end to police brutality.
Chairman of the organization, Enefa Georgewill said more support is coming in and that the organization wants to use Chima’s case as point of contact to others so police will no longer torture or maltreat persons in their custody.
A recent human rights release named Nigeria Police the worst in human rights abuse globally. Georgewill told journalists more people are interested in helping stop police impunity and brutality.
Meanwhile, the PPRO has apologized for lying over the autopsy.