Saturday, February 24, 2024

Family of missing child accuses police inspector of shoddy investigation, petitions CP

BY AGNES NWORIE, ABAKALIKI

The family of Mr John Kelechi from Mgbom Ugwulangwu community in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State has accused a police inspector, Chukwudi Okpala, who is investigating the disappearance of their daughter, of compromise.

In a petition addressed to the state Commissioner of Police, a copy of which was made available to The Point in Abakaliki, the family alleged that Okpala of the Obiozara Police Division did a shoddy investigation of the mysterious disappearance of their four-month-old daughter, Kelechi Daniella Chimuanya.

The family claimed that the investigating officer showed negligence by refusing to visit the crime scene and also delaying in transferring the case to the Ebonyi State Police Command.

The petitioner also said Okpala failed to arrest and interrogate other suspects linked to the alleged kidnapping of the baby.

According to the family, Okpala lacked thoroughness. They questioned his knowledge of the facts and ingredients of the crime, pointing out the reported inexplicable compromise evident in the charges filed against the suspects, Ekpereamaka Nwekpa Obi and Amaka Chukwu.

The petition authored by the family’s lawyer read, “Our clients state that as serious as the kidnap of theirdaughter is, the Obiozara Police Division delayed transferring the matter to the Ebonyi State Police Command till the 4th day of October, about 10 days later, and made no effort at arresting and interrogating other suspects alleged to be involved in the kidnap of their daughter.

“That on receiving the following suspects, ‘Ekpereamaka Nwekpa Obi,’ Amaka Chukwu, Chukwu Friday, and Obasi Samuel at the monitoring unit of the Commissioner of Police, the Investigation Police Officer, Inspector Chukwudi Okpala, assigned to Liberation Estate Abakaliki, handled the matter and neither investigated nor visited the locus criminis (scene of the crime) and was not conversant with the facts and ingredients of the crime and we wonder how he came about the charges he prepared.

“That the shoddy and slipshod manner he handled the matter, having failed to investigate or visit the scene of the crime or interview some villagers in the area, leaves much to be desired and smacks of inexplicable compromise of Inspector Chukwudi Okpala in the way and manner he handled the investigation of this crime, clearly played out and evident in charge NOS: MAB/725c/2023 and MAB/726C/2023 respectively upon which Ekpereamaka Nwekpa Obi, Amaka Chukwu were arraigned for stealing of Chinyere Kelechi on 16/10/2023 and Chukwu Friday and Obasi Samuel for unlawful possession of a locally made pistol, one double-barrel locally made pistol, and one axe; also arraigned the same day, the 16th day of October, without the presence of the complainants in court who were at the court premises waiting for the IPO.”

The petition noted that for the court to have granted the suspects bail “made it clear to our client that they have closed all leads towards the recovery of their child dead or alive and exposing them to the danger of being killed by the accused, and the investigating police officer, Inspector Chukwudi Okpala, should be held responsible for such an untoward situation now and in the near future.”

Therefore, the family called for the immediate withdrawal of existing charges against the suspects, the arrest of all individuals implicated, while demanding that a fresh and thorough investigation be carried out by another police unit.

While calling for the redeployment of Okpala from the monitoring team, the family cited concerns about his alleged compromised integrity, emphasising the need for accountability in the handling of sensitive cases like the disappearance of the baby girl.

The suspects were accused of conspiring and abducting the girl on September 25, 2023 from her mother’s room while she was asleep.

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