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SLAIN DELTA COPS: Grieving Families, Friends Demand Justice

SLAIN DELTA COPS

The bereaved families and friends of some of the police officers who were ambushed and killed while investigating the disappearance of three colleagues by unknown persons in Delta State have demanded justice for their loved ones.

The spokesperson for the Nigeria Police Force, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, had disclosed the killing of the six police officers in a statement on Saturday and added that six other officers were missing, with five suspects arrested in connection with the killings.

Adejobi said the deceased officers include Inspector Abe Olubunmi, Inspector Friday Irorere, Sergeant Kuden Elisha, Sergeant Akpan Aniette, Sergeant Ayere Paul, and Sergeant Ejemito Friday.

Those declared missing include Inspector Onoja Daniel, Inspector Onogho Felix, Inspector Emmanuel Okoroafor, Inspector Joel Hamidu, Sergeant Moses Eduvie, and Sergeant Cyril Okorie.

While the deceased victims’ families shared their sorrow and lamentation on various Facebook accounts, which were seen by our correspondent on Sunday, other relatives as well as protesters faulted the NPF for not opening up on the incident for several weeks before revealing to the public and families the circumstances that led to the incident.

In a live video that lasted for about three minutes and 33 seconds and was shared by Osaretin Wiseman on March 7, 2024, relatives were seen crying as police officers took the remains of Friday Irorere, one of the slain officers, to what was suspected to be his home.

Women and children were seen in the video mourning and wailing as other police officers prepared the late officer’s coffin to be lowered into the grave.

Our correspondent also heard a man’s voice, who was suspected to be behind the recording, saying the officers would be missed by family and friends.

The voice said, “Goodbye, father. We will miss you. We will miss you so dearly. We will miss you forever. Even your colleagues are all crying.”

In another post shared by a Wiseman, he described the late Irorere as a father who had helped him out of the street.

“You’ve been like a father to me since I moved to this street five years ago. It’s difficult to say goodbye. I will forever miss you, dear gallant officer, Friday Irorere,” Wiseman wrote.

A Facebook user identified as Oyemwense Eze added in the comment section, “Rest in peace, Daddy.”

“Rest in peace, brother and friend,” Flourish Moses added.

Others, such as Aigburemwen Esther Chinyere, expressed their shock, saying, “So it is true that Papa Israel is gone? God, I can’t hold back my tears. I didn’t know that today was his burial. Nobody tells me, including my siblings. I should have been there. Chai e pain me.”

Meanwhile, the brother of Ayere Paul, another victim of the ambush, who goes by the Facebook name Ayereakhere Paul, wrote, “Rest on Blood. Almighty God will fight those who have a hand in your death, and you too should go after them till they find no peace in their lives and their generation. IJN Amen.”

A family friend identified as Charles Emonyon wrote, “This is so hard to accept, especially when it has to do with the younger folks, but that’s the way life is at times. My condolences to the family of Otono Ayera.”

“Your killer will never have peace in Jesus’ name; rest in peace, brother,” prayed Ehiosun Austin.

A Facebook user, Iyoha Michael, wrote, “May his soul and the souls of all the faithful who departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen. Rest on my brother.”

Abu Arun added, “Rest in peace, ever smiling face. May Almighty God give you ever-resting peace, wherever you are. Rest in peace, gallant officer.”

“Oh! This is so sad. Enter rest, grant unto him, oh God, and let perpetual light shine on him. May he rest in peace. Amen. My condolences, brother, and please take heart,” Miki Saint grieved.

Ejemito Samuel, the brother of the slain Ejemito Friday, wrote, “So painful that you left so soon, my dearest brother. Rest on till we meet and part no more.”

“This pain is too much to carry; nevertheless, rest well, brother,” Onome Frank added in the comment section, while Vincent Wilson wrote, “Rest on gallant till that beautiful resurrection morning; it’s well.”

Loveline Ezenne described Ejemito as a patriot who died while serving his country, saying, “I never knew you would leave so soon. My heart bleeds upon hearing the news of your demise. May God console your family and grant you peaceful rest, Amen. You died while fighting for your country.”

However, other Facebook users described the NPF as not being fair to the families and Nigerians for not revealing the incident immediately after it occurred.

Samuel Odoba wrote, “The police high command is a disgrace. The killings of these officers happened before the killings of soldiers, but the police authority attempted to conceal the killings. The level of ineptitude of the police high authority is staggering.”

Corroborating, Pico Sam, berated the NPF for not valuing the lives of its officers, saying, “This incident happened almost two months ago, but the police authorities, both Delta State Command and Force Headquarters, refused to give an account of what happened to their men and the way forward.

“Now, they have seen the way the military quickly organized a press conference with pictures of the fallen soldiers and gave an account of what happened to their men in the Okuama community, and the entire country is condemning the actions. This publication is coming too late, and the IGP should be reminded of something here.

“This is not fair to the policemen who died and their bodies decomposed by Fulani bandits in that failed operation in Ugheli, Delta State. I was told that most of the operatives that died in that operation were from IRT Abuja and died just like that without proper information to Nigerians and their families.”

Also, in a video by ITV, an Edo State-based broadcast station shared by a verified X user, @Efewonyi, on Saturday, just after Force Public Relations Adejobi shared the news, some protesters led by Kola Edopkayi stormed the police headquarters in Benin, the Edo State Capital, and demanded why the police had not said anything about the incident.

@Efewonyi further explained in a follow-up post that the officers were sent from Benin to Delta State for a rescue mission.

Edokpayi, in the video, said, “It is very sad that what happened more than one month ago was that the highest police echelon in the Nigerian police had refused to issue a brief to the nation.”