Earlier in the week, the Policemen,Ezekiel Achejene and Emmanuel Baba (both police constables) were sentenced to death by Justice Ishaq Bello for the murder of five traders at the Apo Mechanic Village – Ifeanyi Ozo, Chinedu Meniru, Isaac Ekene, Paul Ogbonna, Anthony Nwokike and the girlfriend of one of them, Tina Arebun.
12 years after the incident, here are 10 things you didn’t know about the killings.
- The six victims, all traders at the Apo Mechanic Village and a girlfriend were driving home after a night out in Abuja on June 7, 2005, when they encountered a team of policemen on patrol.
- The victims allegedly had a scuffle with a senior officer, Danjuma Ibrahim, whose advances were allegedly turned down by Arebun, the only female among the six.
- Ibrahim had allegedly reported to the policemen at the checkpoint on Gimbiya Street, by Ahmadu Bello Way, Apo, Abuja that he sighted a gang of armed robbers in the area.
- The spare part traders were stopped in the Peugeot saloon car they were riding in when they got to the checkpoint.
- Policemen at the checkpoint opened fire on the six traders and four died on the spot.The two remaining ones were later shot dead in the early hours of the following morning under the guise that they were trying to escape.
- The policemen later proceeded to cover up the incident by branding the victims as armed robbers who engaged them in a shootout. Two locally made pistols, two live cartridges, two expended cartridges, two daggers and one cutlass were displayed purportedly recovered from the victims’ car.
- Following the uproar over the case, police high command set up a Special Investigation Panel, which indicted six police officers over the killing -Danjuma Ibrahim (Deputy Commissioner of Police), Othman Abdulsalam (Chief Superintendent of Police), Nicholas Zakaria (Assistant Superintendent of Police), Ezekiel Acheneje (Police Constable), Emmanuel Baba (Police Constable) and Sadiq Salami (Police Constable).
- All indicted policemen and officers were charged on nine counts of criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide, except, CSP Abdusalam, the Divisional Police Officer of Garki, who mysteriously disappeared from his cell in the police headquarters and never appeared in court. He has been in hiding since then.
- A witness told the court during trial that Ibrahim personally shot at the victims. But Justice Ishaq Bello in his judgement said contradictions in testimony of witnesses and the fact that his fingerprint was not taken after arrest made it impossible to establish his culpability.
- The court established that the two last victims were shot by Achejene and Baba, which was the basis for their conviction. No one was convicted for the death of the first four victims.