The Judicial Panel of Inquiry on police brutality in Cross River State has ordered the State Police Command to release the corpse of a victim, Ayuk Etta for burial two years after he was allegedly murdered.
The Justice Michael Edem (retd.), who led the panel, also nullified the banishment of the Paramount Ruler of Etung, HRH Ntui Atue Dr Emmanuel Oru Ojong.
The orders were given in response to a petition submitted to the panel by the Paramount Ruler of Etung, HRM Ntui Atue Dr Emmanuel Oru, through his counsel, Fakuta Nachamada & Associates.
The petition was titled, ‘Intimidation, harassment, detention and usurpation of the functions of the Paramount Ruler of Etung by AIG Mbu Joseph Mbu (retd.) through the use of men of the Nigeria Police’.
The petitioners alleged that during Christmas Eve celebration in 2018, masquerades were in display along Bendeghe-Ekiem/Abia road during which one Ayuk Etta, who was rubbing charcoal on his body in preparation to wear masquerade costumes, was allegedly shot and killed by Mbu.
The petition partly read, “Boys present carried the corpse of Ayuk Etta Etta and took it to AIG Retd Mbu’s house at Abia (in Etung old Ikom Local Government Area of the state).
“Upon sighting these boys, he ordered his policemen to shoot and they started firing, shooting one of them; Oyom Ngon, on the leg, which became bad that it had to be amputated.
“The Director of Public Prosecutions recommended the prosecution of Mbu. However, he used the police and intimidated witnesses from coming forth to testify.”
The counsel for the paramount ruler said the retired AIG had no right to use policemen funded with taxpayers’ money to harass, intimidate, maim and kill the very citizens police were meant to protect.
The respondent and representative of the police, Ofu Ubangha, did not object to the application, adding that it would have infringed on the petitioners’ right as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.