By Ikora Ayungbe, Uyo
Victor David, a middle aged man, who is bedridden for the past 12 months as a result of bullet wound he sustained on the leg when a Divisional Police Officer attached to the Akwa Ibom State Police Command allegedly shot at him, has finally cried out for justice as well as financial assistance.
“I want justice! My right leg has been condemned. I have been in pains for the past one year; I live on charity now as I cannot do anything on my own”, David cried out as he narrates his ordeal to journalists.
The father of three, who now walks with crutches, recalled how he was shot on Saturday, April 17, 2018, by Mr. Joseph Udonwo, a Divisional Police Officer in-charge of Okobo police division, Okobo Local Government Area of the state.
“I was at the Okobo Motor Park that fateful Saturday when suddenly I saw some police officers driving towards a medical centre near the park. There was a robbery operation at the medical facility the previous night, and when the police officers arrived, all of us, including some passengers, rushed to see what was happening.
“I saw two police officers there that I knew before and my village chief went to greet them. But when I arrived at the scene, the DPO ordered me to enter their vehicle and when I obeyed, they drove me to the police station at Okobo and the DPO started taunting me with his guns.
“He fired the first shot on the ground and missed my leg narrowly. He fired again and missed but the third shot hit me on the right leg. The bullet pierced my leg and come out in the other side”, he said.
Mr David further disclosed that shortly after Mr Udonwo realized that he had been injured, he rushed him to a nearby hospital at Iquita in Oron local government area where he received first aid treatment.
According to him, shortly after medical personnel at the hospital realised that he had lost so much blood, they referred him to the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital.
He said that Udonwo eventually ferried him to UUTH but registered him as a patient with a fake name, Bassey Otu, instead of Victor David, before abandoning him to his fate. Although, he admitted that the errant police officer had since apologised to him for the career threatening injury, he insists that apologies alone cannot atone for the damages.
“The DPO has apologised to me but his apology was a mere afterthought. He came begging me that it was a mistake, and that he was under a spell of spiritual manipulations, but this is not true,“ he said, adding “Since he is on salary, they should ensure that he commits part of that salary to my treatment until am well and able to do something.”
The victim, who until that incident, was a loader at Okobo motor park, disclosed that since that incident, life had been hellish for him and his family, and appealed to the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Abubakar Adamu, and the Commissioner of Police in the state, CP Zaki Ahmed, to intervene and ensure that justice is done in the case.
“I am using this medium to call on the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Abubakar Adamu, the Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom state, Zaki Ahmed, to bring the officer to book and ensure that he pays for the damage done.”
David’s wife, Agnes, who has taken over the responsibility of fending for the family, also called on public spirited organisations to come to the aid of the family.
“Everything is difficult for us now. I was pregnant when this thing happened and I put to birth in the hospital while taking care of my husband. Now, the baby has grown up and she has to start attending school by September this year”, she lamented.
Human Rights group in Akwa Ibom state, a Network of Social Justice Crusaders, comprising non-governmental organizations, individuals groups, has initiated action on the matter.
In a letter addressed to the Commissioner of Police, CP Ahmed Zaki, on the issue, the Akwa Ibom state Coordinator of the group, Mr Clifford Thomas, called on the police authority to launch a full scale investigation into the matter with a view to unraveling the veracity of the issues and ensure that justice was done at the end of it.
Thomas said “It is our belief that the police officer acted ultra vires. He acted outside the expectation of the police rules and regulations. His actions fall within the purview of strict liability and he must be made to answer for his actions. After threatening his victim initially, he made efforts to induce him with money. When he failed, the DPO is now using surrogates to harass him and intimidate him and his wife and children”.
Reacting to the matter, the state Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Zaki, assured that the matter would be properly investigated and treated to ensure that justice is done as the Nigerian Police Force has set a standard for such actions.
“The Nigerian Police has set a standard on matters like this. We shall investigate the matter and bring to book whoever is guilty, no matter his or her position in the force” Zaki assured.