Thursday, November 28, 2013

Family of murdered poly worker tackles police

Bereaved family members of Frank Moses, an employee of the Federal
Polytechnic Ekowe, Bayelsa State, have raised the alarm over plot by
the police authorities in the state to shield his killers.
The 35-year-old, who was the Financial Secretary of the Bayelsa
chapter of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Polytechnics, was
killed by gunmen at his residence at Agudama, Yenagoa about 9pm on
November 8, 2013.
For about a year before his murder, Moses and other union leaders had
been embroiled in an industrial dispute with the poly's authorities
over unpaid workers' benefits and issues bearing on financial
profligacy by the management.
In a position paper issued after an emergency meeting on Saturday, and
signed by Mr. Frank Talent, Chief Benjamin Egberi-Puyate and Chief
James Frankiyel-Ama of Okiki and Okoroba family in Ogbia Local
Government Area of the state, the relatives asked the
Inspector-General of Police to take over the matter because of the
alleged "grand design" to sweep the matter under the carpet.
They asked the Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hillary
Okpara, to explain to the public the rationale behind the release of
the prime suspects despite glaring evidence of their culpability in
the murder.
The family said, "The police should explain to Nigerians why they
ignored the letters written to them by the deceased, SSANP members and
his (Moses) lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo, alerting them (police) of the
threats to their lives.
"The police should arrest all those whose names are with them who sent
threat messages to the deceased and the Chairman of SSANP.
"Police should tell the public if a suspect in a murder trial is
entitled to bail in the given scenario. We urge the IG to take over
the investigation of the matter and arrest all those persons that are
involved in the killing."
They also demanded that the police be more civilized in their
intelligence gathering as those who volunteered to give information
were allegedly being harassed and intimidated.
"The police contributed immensely to the death of our son, having
failed to act on the petition that they wrote concerning the threat to
life of the deceased and the Chairman of the SSANP.
"We demand justice from the state on this matter as we believe that
justice is three-way traffic; justice to the victim, justice to the
society and justice to the accused persons."
Soon after the murder of Moses, the police authorities in the state
had quizzed the institution's Rector, Dr. Ineye Ekpebu.
Apart from Ekpebu, a former Caretaker Chairman of Oporoma West
Development Centre under the Ekeremor Local Government Area of the
State, Mr. Zion Tei, was quizzed.
When PUNCH Metro contacted the spokesman for the police command, Mr.
Alex Akhigbe, he confirmed that the rector and Zion were invited to
the police headquarters over the killing.
"We only invited them and interrogated them to know the extent of
their involvement after the allegation leveled by the family,"
Akhigbe said.
Spokesman for the institution, Mr. Okpoitari Biongoli, said, "Against
the background that there were some issues in the school, the rector
was invited by the police to clarify some issues.
"He was only invited to clarify one or two issues concerning some
problems in the institution. He was not a union member and so could
not have been arrested."
Reacting to the family's allegation of police complicity, Commissioner
of Police, Bayelsa State, Mr. Hillary Okpara, said it was a height of
ingratitude for the family to say such a thing.
Okpara said, "Don't they know that a case involving murder of that
nature cannot be rushed? At times, murder cases stay longer because of
necessary investigations to be carried out. I can tell you that we are
trying to unravel the circumstances and we have gone far."

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