By Frank Julius, Asaba
The Delta State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality and Extra-Judicial Killings has admitted in evidence, a video clip where a suspected kidnap kingpin, late Anthony Ogbalor aka Dracula, allegedly owned up to his crime.
The clip was admitted and marked exhibit DW3 in Asaba during the panel sitting which was presided over by the chairman, Justice Christiana Ogisi (rtd).
Respondent’s counsel, F.N. Oduna tendered the video recording after it was played during examination of his witness, CSP Anietie Eyoh, a serving officer presently at the Nassarawa State Police Command.
Under cross-examination by petitioner’s counsel, the witness said he was the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in Warri, Delta State, when the deceased suspect and his gang members were arrested in December, 2017.
CSP Eyoh told the panel that he led the team that arrested the late suspect at Otor-Iyede in Isoko area of Delta State after he and his gang members allegedly kidnapped a woman in Warri and collected a ransom of N3.2 million.
He said the suspect fell down from the ceiling while attempting to evade arrest, and sustained injury.
According to him, the suspect was taken to the station and his statement was immediately obtained during which the confessional video clip was recorded.
The witness stated that the suspect was subsequently treated before his case was transfered to the command headquarters in Asaba for further investigation.
Eyoh said he was later told that the suspect collapsed in police cell in Asaba and was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) where he died as a result of injuries and the fact that he failed to disclose to interrogators that he was diabetic.
But armed with a medical report, counsel to the petitioner, Bar. Izobo contended that the deceased did not die at FMC, noting that his corpse was only referred to the morgue at FMC.
Reading the medical report, the counsel said the deceased suspect was taken to the Police Clinic after he collapsed in the cell, adding that it was at the police clinic that he died and his corpse referred to FMC morgue.
He had earlier confronted the witness that he held on to the suspect for six days without treatment before transferring him to Asaba, an allegation Eyoh denied, insisted that the suspect was treated at a medical facility in Warri before the transfer.
Counsel further contended that the late suspect’s statement was obtained in Asaba on December 28, 2017 even though he was arrested on December, 20, to which Eyoh insisted that his confessional statement was obtained immediately after arrest, adding that the statement of December 28 might have be an additional one since the suspect was no longer in his custody at the time.
Chairman of the panel, Justice Christiana Ogisi (rtd) adjourned the matter to March 1, 2021.
Complainant in the matter, Wilson Ogbalor had petitioned the panel alleging that his brother, the late Anthony was tortured and killed by the police after he was arrested without trial.