Pay Up! Family of Nigerian Boy Killed by Drunk Constable Demand N100M Compensation

The family of Friday Arunsi, a 19-year-old man allegedly murdered by a “drunken” police constable has demanded for N100 million compensation.

The constable allegedly shot Arunsi dead on April 17 at Ebem Ohafia in Abia State, during a lockdown imposed by the Nigerian government to curtail the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.

The Nneibo maternal family, represented by Chief Kingsheart Ukpai, is also asking for justice in a petition filed before the Abia Judicial Panel of Inquiry on police brutality and extrajudicial killings, through its Counsel, Mrs Ngozi Ukwueni.

Ukpabi told the panel on Wednesday in Umuahia that the family was demanding justice and compensation for the “brutal killing of a promising young man” by a policeman.

The defendant was attached to the Ohafia Divisional Police Station, when the incident happened.

Ukpabi, who was led in evidence by the Defence Counsel, SP Stanley Ofoegbu, said that the 19-year-old deceased was the breadwinner of his family.

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Narrating how the boy was killed, Ukpabi said that constable, who was said to be drunk at the time of the incident, shot and killed the boy, while he was unloading essential goods from a truck in front of a shop during the COVID-19 lockdown.

He said: “Three policemen were coming back from a drinking spree in their private car about eight poles away from the shop.

“The driver lost control, while the car veered off the road and rammed into the truck.

“The policemen quickly jumped out of their car and asked the boys to stop unloading the goods.

“While this was going on, the constable rushed to his house to pick up his rifle and immediately started shooting sporadically, hitting Friday in the process.”

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He said that the deceased was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital from where he was referred to the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia.

Ukpabi said that the boy was confirmed dead upon arrival at the hospital.

He further told the panel that his remains were deposited at the hospital’s morgue and that efforts made by his relatives for the police to release his body for burial had been unsuccessful.

However, the defence counsel wondered why the petitioners were still asking for justice, when the suspect “is already facing justice”, having been detained at the Umuahia Correctional Centre.

Ofoegbu prayed the panel to grant him an adjournment to enable him to continue with the cross examination of the witness at the next sitting.
The petitioner’s counsel did not oppose the application.

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The Chairman of the panel, retired Justice Sunday Imo, thereafter, adjourned the matter to Dec. 1 for continuation of the hearing.

The 17-member panel, which was set to investigate cases of police brutality, extra judicial killings and other related matters, began sitting in Umuahia on Nov. 10.

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