The Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre, RULAAC has condemned the extrajudicial killing of one of the attackers of Apostle Suleiman, allegedly by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in Auchi, Ayodele Suleiman after the suspect was arrested alive by members of a vigilante group and handed over to the police.
The rights group is also calling for prompt, impartial and exhaustive probe into the incident.
Seven persons including three policemen and four domestic staff of Apostle Suleman were reportedly killed late Friday near Auchi at the Water Tank Junction along the Warake -Auchi Road, on his way to Auchi returning from a foreign mission.
According to the Executive Director of RULAAC, Okechukwu Nwanguma, information available to RULAAC indicates that one of the the suspects was apprehended by members of a vigilante group who promptly handed him over to the DPO, who allegedly extrajudicially executed him.
Nwanguma notes that killing the suspect is unprofessional and raises questions about motive.
“The action destroys evidence by denying the opportunity to interrogate and hear from him about other fleeing members of the criminal gang, their probable motive, their likely sponsors, and other vital information surrounding the crime.
“On taking over the suspect from the vigilante group, the police, without any investigation, extrajudicially executed the suspect, denying him the chance – which he is entitled to under the law- to appear in court where his guilt or otherwise would be established following fair trial.
“Could a DPO have unilaterally taken such extrajudicial and reckless action without reference to the Commissioner of Police?” he queried.
The RULAAC boss insisted that it would be expected that a DPO, upon receiving a suspect in such a serious crime, would notify his CP.
He asked; “Did the DPO notify his CP? What directives could the DPO have received from the CP that emboldened him to carry out such a heinous, illegal, and scandalous act?
“If it turns out to be the case that the CP Edo ordered the unlawful killing of the arrested suspect, the CP would be liable for giving an unlawful order.
“But even if the officer who shot the suspect did so convinced that he was obeying superior orders, he will still be held personally liable because obedience to superior orders is no justification or excuse under the Police Act 2020.
“Such an order would be manifestly unlawful.”
The rights activist called for a prompt, impartial and exhaustive investigation by an impartial team outside Edo Police Command into the entire incident to unravel the motive behind it.