Out of court settlement: Lawyer berates police by Elyger Agwu
A constitutional lawyer in Port Harcourt, Barr. Ibikunu Tolofari has condemned the appeal by the Rivers State Command on the Nigeria Police to have an out-of-court settlement over the brutal and gruesome murder of an auto-mechanic in the state by officers of the Eagle Crack (E-Crack) team in the Mile 1 Police Station of the State Police Command, describing the move as the height of brazen usurpation of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The youthful legal activist, who made this declaration while responding to questions by our correspondent that sought some legal interpretation of such plan, wondered why the Police should want to thwart the existing law of the country when the reckless action by its personnel is very glaring.
According to the young vibrant lawyer, “The state commissioner of Police should allow the law take its course. Asking the family to meet the police for settlement is very wrong and he knows the legal implication of such a move. As the enforcers of the law, the Nigeria Police should make itself show good example. Honestly, I see such a plan as a move for a very serious cover-up and the Police in the state owes the people serious explanations”.
Late Chima was said to be another victim of Police brutality in Rivers state, which has one of the highest index of Police recklessness in Nigeria. Available information has it that the said Late Chima Ikwunado died while in the Police custody since December, 2019, as a result of heavy brutality by the operative of E-Crack meted out to him.
Reliable insider information has it that the deceased was arrested in December 2019 alongside four of his apprentices identified as Victor Ogbonna, Osaze Friday, Ifeanyi Osuji and Ifeanyi Onyekwere.
Chima and his apprentices were arrested for driving against traffic in the Port Harcourt area of Rivers, and were allegedly tortured to death at Mile 1 Police Station by four officers attached to the E-Crack team of the Station.
Barrister Tolofari who did not hide his deep anger for such act, revealed that such a move is allowed to take place will amount to compounding of felonious acts by the same protectors of the law of the land.
“It is very impossible to settle criminal matters out of court. The crime is committed by public officers against the people of the society hence they have committed crime against the whole entity of Nigeria. Not even the family of Chima can withdraw the case at this moment. The law is there for all to see and no one is above the law. Criminal matters are not against the victim but against the society.
They should face prosecution to serve as deterrent for others and ensure that the Rule of Law is really effective. Settling out of court is promoting licentious act of recklessness by public servants in the country. Where has decency and morality gone to and what happens to operational ethics and the law of the country. Everyone is equal before the law without exception. If the Police wants to thwart the law because they are involved in the matter is a very wrong act. I must say that the Police even muting the idea of out-of-court settlement after such heinous act of bizarre nature has been committed make them culpable of the crime”, he declared.
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