I feel obliged to inform you of the rather troubling incidence that happened to Innocent Kokorifa. He is the first child of a family of five. He is very smart, easy going, hardworking, obedient and full of prospect. Even if he didn’t possess any of the aforementioned qualities; he still did not deserved what happened to him on the 18th day of August, 2016.
It all started on Thursday, 18th August morning when Innocent Kokorifa left his house at 10:50 am to visit his Aunt, Miss Gbasiemokumor Lucky who lives very close to them at ‘Airforce Road’, the Street adjacent to Okaka Estate. If Innocent was clairvoyant enough, he would have said his last prayers, bid his mother ‘goodbye’, gave his little siblings a bear hug, knowing fully well that he was about to make a journey of no return, but he didn’t. How many people can really tell the exact minute, time, or day they are going to die?
Innocent was one of such persons. He didn’t know that it was his last day on earth. So he stepped outside. No cause for alarm as the neighborhood has enjoyed relative peace for a while, save for few pecuniary motivated police indiscriminate raiding at night. It was a peaceful morning, and such, police raiding was least expected.
On getting to ‘Airforce Street’ Okaka, Innocent met his end. He was gunned down by men of the Anti-Vice Team. He was hit by a bullet which perforated his oesophagus. The Police, having known what they have done, precluded passers-by from having a clear look at their victim. They carted away with the body by carefully guarding it from onlookers into their truck.
Police will always be police, and so they labelled Innocent Kokorifa an armed robber. They alleged that they recovered an Okah (local made) gun beside him when they picked his body from the floor and hurled it onto their truck. They also alleged, through the O/C Anti-Vice, CSP Princewill, that his men, upon returning told him that there was a robbery incidence at ‘Airforce Road’ in Okaka. The Anti-Vice squad intervened.
In the course of their intervention, there was exchange of gunfire which led to the death of Innocent. The O/C Anti-Vice also stated that his men reported the incident to him when they returned. And that they have taken the deceased to the mortuary at Federal Medical Center (FMC) in Yenagoa. He said, he visited the mortuary, searched the deceased and discovered ‘Igbo’ (Indian hemp) from the deceased pocket.
No record of criminality about Innocent Kokorifa has been found with the Police. No record of investigation successfully carried out by the police that incriminated Innocent can be traced. How did they come up with such disjointed allegations? That is someone’s child lying lifeless in the mortuary. No decency for them to even inform the parents of the deceased whatsoever.
Mr. Daniel Kokorifa, the deceased father said, “On that fateful day, I received a call from my wife that Police shot our first son, Innocent Kokorifa. I instructed my wife to go to police station at Ekeki to inquire about the condition and whereabouts of Innocent”.
He added that the mother said ”Police shot my son”, however the Police retorted and told the woman that they are investigating while admonished and doctored her that she should say “bad boys shot her son.”
The father therefore left Port Harcourt after getting report from the mother of innocent by night bus to Bayelsa around 10:00 pm. He made efforts to locate the whereabouts and condition of his son, but the Police stations reported to, claimed ignorance of the case. He then went to the scene of the incidence at ‘Airforce Road’ with the mother that night and spotted some puddle of blood on the sand via his torch. I retired home because of how late it was to continue searching for him the next day.”
By Friday, 19th August, Innocent father returned to scene where Innocent was shot and inquired from a woman about the incident that happened the previous day. The eyewitness woman said the men of the Anti-Vice squad were responsible for the death of an unarmed boy.
She said : “The environment was peaceful and there was no cause for alarm until the Police in Jean and polo shirts came and shot a gun that was aimed at a small boy. When the boy fell down, he became lifeless. The Police prevented people from having a close look at the lifeless body. They shielded the body of the deceased from onlookers and threw it in their van, then they drove away with it”.
With the detailed provided by the woman, Daniel Kokorifa went to FMC mortuary where he confirmed the lifeless body of his son. The mortuary attendant told him the body was brought in by men of the Anti-Vice team who signed the mortuary register and made the initial payment to the mortuary at exactly 11:59 am of 18thn August, 2016.
Life is a lot of things and sometimes we either look the other way as though nothing has happened or stare tyranny in the face and make our voices be heard. Maybe being a member of the Nigerian Police Force is a powerful intoxicant and what better way to demonstrate this than killing a 17 year old boy in broad daylight? It is even frightening to know that these killer Police officers are still roaming with their rifles, going about their duties. They do not garb themselves in uniforms. Maybe it is easier to look the other way, because Innocent Kokorifa is not your son, cousin, brother, friend and relation. Maybe looking the other way is easier but in this fight I stand with the family of Innocent Kokorifa. This is one police recklessness too many.
Thank you all,
Aluzu Ebikebuna Augustine