The Inspector-General of Police, IG Ibrahim Idris, on Wednesday, has decorated Ibrahim Danjuma with a new rank of Commissioner of Police after he had been prosecuted and acquitted for the Apo Six killing of five Igbo traders based in Abuja and a lady in 2005.
Danjuma was among 15 new CPs recently reinstated by the Police Service Commission on the recommendation of the IG. He was suspended from duty on account of the alleged extrajudicial killing and was subsequently charged to court alongside Othman Abdulsalam, Nicholas Zakaria, Baba Emmanuel, Ezekiel Acheneje and Sadiq Salami as co-defendants for a felony.
Facts about the Apo Six Killing
1. Recall the Apo Six killing, an extrajudicial murder case that occurred between the night of June 7 and 8, 2005. The extrajudicial killing involved five young men (age 21 – 25) who had spent some time at a club on Gimbiya Street, Area 11, and were returning to their home in Apo neighbourhood when they encountered some police officers.
2. The victims, Ekene Isaac Mgbe, Ifeanyi Ozor, Chinedu Meniru, Paulinus Ogbonna, Anthony and Augustina Arebu, were brutally murdered by officers guarding the road that fateful night. All five males were traders at the Apo Mechanic Village, while the female was a girlfriend of one of them.
3. Officers involved in the killings include Danjuma Ibrahim (Deputy Commissioner of Police), Othman Abdulsalami (Chief Superintendent of Police), Nicholas Zakaria (Assistant Superintendent of Police), Ezekiel Acheneje (Police Constable), Emmanuel Baba (Police Constable), and Sadiq Salami (Police Constable).
All indicted policemen were charged with nine counts of criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide.
Story and Trials
4. Their murder was followed by an initial encounter the victims had with the head officer Ibrahim Danjuma. The former who was off duty propositioned Augustina, the female victim at the club but she turned down his advances. A scuffle ensues between the group and officer Ibrahim later set out to exact vengeance.
5. Ibrahim went to a police checkpoint at the end of the street and told officers there were a group of armed robbers in the area.
When the six young people approached the police checkpoint in their car, Ibrahim allegedly drove into them, blocking their way and ordered the police officers to shoot.
6. It was reported that four of the six died on the spot while Ifeanyi and Augustina survived and were taken to a police station and held hostage. Although Ifeanyi called his friends after surviving the burst of gunfire, it would be the last they’d ever hear from him.
7. Another report by the UN special rapporteur on extra-judicial execution, the police called Augustina’s family and demanded N5000 to let her go.
8. Some police officers testified at the criminal trial that while Augustina’s family could not come forward with the money, the two surviving victims were taken outside town and executed – the young lady was strangled.
9. The perpetrators of the Apo Six killing claimed that the five men and the woman were gunned down because they were armed robbers. They planted guns on the bodies of the victims and pictures were taken by a police photographer.
10. However, the photographer who took the pictures later to raise alarm and release the pictures.
11. In another twist to the chaotic situation, one of the officers close to the case, Mr Anthony Edem was poisoned as confirmed by the autopsy report from the National Hospital Abuja.
12. An official panel of inquiry was set up by then-president Olusegun Obasanjo following public outcry for justice by traders, friends and families of the deceased.
13. Following the findings of the panel, the indicted officers were placed on suspension.
14. The five officers accused of the killings and eight other police witnesses eventually testified that a senior officer involved, Ibrahim, allegedly ordered the killings.
15. A decade after, the trial of the Apo six killings Justice was yet to be actualized for the victims’ families until 2017. Two of the officers, Ezekiel Acheneje and Baba Emmanuel were sentenced to death. The court had established that they shot the two last victims. No one is yet to be convicted for the death of the first four victims.
16. One of the accused officers, Othman Abdulsalami has been in hiding till date. He mysteriously disappeared from his cell in the police headquarters and never appeared in court. He has been in hiding since then.
17. On March 9, 2017, the trial Judge, Justice Ishaq Bello, of the FCT High Court found Danjuma, who was the first accused person, “not guilty” and accordingly, discharged and acquitted him while Emmanuel and Acheneje were sentenced to death.
While a witness told the court during the trial that Ibrahim Dajuma personally shot at the victims, Justice Bello cited contradictions in the testimony of witnesses and the fact that his fingerprint was not taken after his arrest which made it impossible to establish his culpability.
18. Despite being indicted in the Apo Six Killing, Mr Ibrahim Danjuma was reinstated to his former rank on November 2017, his accumulated salaries from June 18, 2005, would also be paid with plans to send him on a refresher course, according to a police memo published by Sahara Reporters.
19. The controversial reinstatement of Ibrahim Danjuma by the Police Service Commission has sparked concerned among the senates who resolved to investigate the reinstatement.
20. Senator Sonni Ogbuoji (PDP-Ebonyi) who raised the resolution expressed concern that two police officers who operated under the directive of Ibrahim to kill the young traders were convicted but he was acquitted.
21. The senator also pointed that Ibrahim’s reinstatement has generated a lot of tension among the families whose children were killed in cold blood. He urged the Senate to take interest to find out what has happened with this exercise.
22. In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki requested for a formal petition on the matter so that it would be referred to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions…