Sunday, 29 September, 2013 started as a normal day for Moses Murtala Aminu. He woke up in a vivacious and energetic mood, prepared for, and went to church.
There was no inkling that death was lurking around on that day. Nobody close to him saw it. Even Muri (as he his fondly called), did not see it. To all of us, it was just a normal Sunday. Although he was relatively taciturn on that day, nobody could tell what made him so. Death was certainly not among the several things that came to mind.
Muri was an enterprising young man who didn’t lazy around looking for a white-collar job. He operated and ran a shawarma business called Grill Masters. As fate would have it, he needed fish to prepare for his ever loyal customers. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get the cat fish to grill that evening. So, he decided to honour his friend by attending a birthday party that he had early been invited to. If he had known that it was death calling, he wouldn’t have attended that celebration. Death was indeed calling, and it was in the hands of Corporal Alex Okpe, a police officer attached to the Kakuri division of Kaduna State to carry out its wicked assignment.
After the birthday party, Muri and his friends were heading home, when they saw a guy harassing a lady. Their greatest undoing was stopping to mediate between the two. After asking them to stop embarrassing themselves in public, and urging them to resolve whatever was amiss between them, the police corporal, insulted them and their mothers. An argument ensued; they sought to know what they had done to warrant such an insult. Corporal Okpe responded in the typical and notorious nature of the men in black uniform, he brought out his gun and fired a shot pointedly at Muri on the chest. He fired another shot into the sky, and escaped from the scene; leaving Muri to writhe in pain and bleed to death.
The attitude of the police after the incident raises a lot of question. Like partners in the crime of snuffing out life from innocent citizens, they sought to cover up for their colleague. That is why after two years, nobody knows where or what has happened to the killer police corporal, Alex Okpe. He was said to have been initially arrested, but nobody can tell if he has been released and transferred to another location, like we heard they were planning to do. Shielding and protecting officers who murder innocent people may be interpreted as silently approving it by the police. Worse is that the police abandoned and neglected his family.
The blood of Moses Murtala Aminu cries for justice. There is no better way to serve this justice and to placate him, than to bring his killer to account for sending him to the great beyond and the young age of 30, according to prescribed law of the land. We demand that Corporal Alex Okpe be prosecuted and the full weight of the law be imposed. The blood of Muri will continue to cry until this is done, and anybody who is in a position to do this but refuses to do so, will have Muri’s blood on his hands.
It is worrying to note that from that unfortunate day to date, countless number of people have fallen to bullets from the guns of trigger happy police officers. Despite the increasing number of extra-judicial killings by the police, no police officer has been successfully prosecuted and sentenced adequately for wrongfully taking human life. Are we surprised that this has not happened? No. The police is expected to prosecute such cases; will they be diligent and see their colleagues go to jail?
This is a clarion call on the Inspector General of Police to reopen cases of extra-judicial killings and ensure that justice is served adequately. Similarly, no police officer should be given a gun, unless he is certified to be mentally fit and capable to handle one. Those who already have guns should be made undergo mental check to ensure they too, are fit.
If nothing is done about the incessant killings of innocent people by the police, the people may be forced to retaliate, and that will not be good for our society.
For brother Muri and all those whose light have been cut out by power drunk and trigger happy police officers, I say sleep on; may your bloods continue to cry until justice is served
Network for Democracy and Human Rights
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