Nigeria: Police Chief Orders 'Immediate' Arrest of Inspector Over the Death of Akwa Ibom Woman

22 January 2020

The commissioner of police in Akwa Ibom State, Imohimi Edgal, has ordered the "immediate" arrest of a police officer accused of causing the death of a 54-year-old woman.

The officer, Bassey Ikpe, was said to have violently dragged the victim, Deborah Nkpenie, thereby causing her head to hit the iron rail of a tricycle, where she was seated.

The woman died immediately, witnesses said.

The incident happened at the police headquarters, Uyo, on Thursday, around 12 p.m.

Mr Ikpe, a police inspector, denied the allegation. He told PREMIUM TIMES the woman died outside the police headquarters and that he did not assault her, as alleged by the family.

Mrs Nkpenie had hired the tricycle, otherwise known as Keke, to the police headquarters in response to the officer, Mr Ikpe's invitation over a family squabble. The officer was said to have angrily insisted on taking her to court for arraignment immediately Mrs Nkpenie arrived.

The family, through their lawyer, Clifford Thomas, sent to PREMIUM TIMES via WhatsApp photos of the victim's body taken while inside the Keke, with her head resting on her daughter's laps.

Mfonobong Peter, the younger sister to late Mrs Nkpenie, said the victim's stepchildren wanted to dispossess her of her house after her husband died last year.

The stepchildren, Mrs Peter said, lodged a case with the police against Mrs Nkpenie.

Police reaction

"The attention of the Akwa Ibom State Police Command has been drawn to a publication in some dailies and online media that a Police personnel attached to the Akwa Ibom State Police Command, one Inspr. Bassey Ikpe reportedly beat up one Mrs. Deborah Nkereuwem Nkpenie to death on Thursday, 16th of January, 2020," the police spokesperson in the state, Odiko MacDon, said in a statement on Tuesday.

"To authenticate this serious allegation, the Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom State Police Command, CP Imohimi Edgal has ordered the immediate arrest of the said Inspector.

"The Commissioner has instructed the Deputy Commissioner, State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) to carry out a thorough investigation into the matter, while reiterating the Command's commitment to policing with great respect for human rights," the statement said.

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