An FCT High Court has convicted and sentenced two out of five policemen accused in the extrajudicial killings of six Apo traders in 2005 to death. The accused Ezekiel Acheneche and Emmanuel Baba were convicted of homicide punishable by death under section 22 1a of the penal code while others were absolved of wrongdoing and discharged.
Justice Ishaq Bello while delivering judgment on Thursday held that that the action of the convicted men was condemnable because there was no evidence that the traders did anything to constitute a threat to police at the time they were shot dead.
Justice Bello said that the killing of the traders was painful noting that the police officers took laws into their hand by summarily executing innocent young people.
During the trial, the accused police officers tried retracting their confessional statements, but the attempt was dismissed by the judge who ruled that dismissed adding that it is an afterthought. However, three other policemen including the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Danjuma Ibrahim, Othman Abdusalami and Sadiq Salami who were charged with conspiracy and culpable homicide contrary to section 97 and 221 of the penal code were set free and discharged by the court for lack of evidence.
The court held that from the totality of the evidence placed before it, the charge of conspiracy could not be established against them because of the inability of the prosecution to convince the court that the men met and agreed to kill the traders.
Recall that seven policemen namely Danjuma Ibrahim, Othman Abdulsalami, now at large; Nicholas Zakaria, Ezekiel Acheneje, Baba Emmanuel, and Sadiq Salami murdered the victims in cold blood.
The police officers tried every tactic to thwart the trial employing delay tactics thereby making the trial to go through a full stretch of litigation from 2005 to date.
The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation had accused police officers of killing Ifeanyi Ozo, Chinedu Meniru, Isaac Ekene, Paulinus Ogbonna, Anthony Nwokike and Augustina Arebun. The deceased were said to be returning from a night party in 2005 when they were murdered by the policemen who claimed that the victims were armed robbers claiming they were gunned down because they opened fire first.
The case popularly known as ‘Apo Six’ has generated public outcry from the beginning as the police authorities tried to cover it up.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was forced to constitute an official panel of inquiry to ascertain the remote and immediately cause of the incident.