‘He was not an IPOB member’ — family accuses police of killing ‘innocent’ man in Imo

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The family of Nwaiwu Chigozie has accused the Imo police command of “unjustly killing” their son and labelling him a member of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).



On October 8, the Imo police command had said its operatives killed an IPOB member — said to be Chigozie — while trying to arrest a suspected IPOB kingpin in the Ehime Mbano area of the state.

Mike Abattam, the Imo police spokesperson, had alleged that one Uchenna Chukwu, the suspected IPOB kingpin, and his associates attempted to attack the police during the arrest.

“The suspect raised alarm, alerting members of his gang, picked a cutlass and rushed at one of the police operatives and attempted chopping off his head but was overpowered, disarmed and the cutlass recovered,” the police spokesman had said.

“While this was on, the already alerted members who came in their numbers to rescue him engaged the police in a gun duel, and in the process, one of them was neutralised while others escaped with bullet wounds.”

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Police killed Nwaiwu Chigozie and alleged that he’s an IPOB member

Contrary to the narrative of the police, the families of Chukwu and Chigozie insist they have no affiliation with IPOB.

In a joint petition signed by Ebuka Igwe, their lawyer, the families petitioned the assistant inspector-general of police, zone 9, police headquarters, over the issue.

According to the petition, Chigozie (the deceased) and Chukwu, the suspected IPOB kingpin, are childhood friends.

Chigozie was said to have gone to visit Chukwu in his welding shop when the incident happened on October 6.

The petition says three operatives attached to the anti-kidnapping unit of the Imo police command had visited Chukwu’s shop in search of one Chidera, with whom he shares the shop.

The police operatives were said to have given Chidera’s wife the contact details of a police officer identified as Prince Chikadibia, with an instruction that her husband should reach out to him.

According to the petition, as the police officers were about to leave the shop, they spotted Chukwu and arrested him.

Alarmed by the development, the late Chigozie was said to have approached the operatives to inquire about the offence of his friend but he was allegedly shot dead by one of the police operatives.

The petition noted that the police officers fled the location after killing Chigozie — a development that reportedly drew the attention of the villagers to the scene.

The police officers were said to have later returned to the scene — shooting sporadically — to take the corpse of the deceased.

Chukwu’s family said efforts to reach their son proved abortive until the police addressed a press conference on October 8, alleging that he is a suspected IPOB member and that Chigozie was killed during a shootout.

His family also accused the police of demanding money before seeing their son in detention.

“We believe that the police cannot claim to storm IPOB/ESN hideout with only three policemen in a red coloured Toyota Venza,” the family said in the petition.

“We also believe that the police cannot claim to storm the IPOB/ESN hideout when they have already given their contact to the target’s wife.

Uchenna Chukwu was arrested by Imo police for being an alleged IPOB kingpin

“The arrested person, Uchenna Christian Chukwu, was done in lieu of their target because they share the same shop.

“We also believe that police can only drop contact details on a civil matter or offences not in an IPOB/ESN matter as claimed.

“Sequel to the foregoing, we believe that justice cannot be done to my client in Imo State Police Command, hence, our petition for the transfer of this case to your esteemed office for an independent and discreet investigation.”


Speaking with TheCable, Louis Nwaiwu, the deceased’s father, said his son was not a member of IPOB or its security outfit, Eastern Security Network (ESN).

Nwaiwu said he wants justice for his late son and his friend who is currently in detention.

“I want justice to prevail because the so-called police lied against my son and the other guy (Chukwu),” he said.

“The other friend they are holding is a welder. His workshop is there for everyone to see. They are mates.

“We want the public to know the truth that the Nigeria police do not speak the truth. The brutality and killing of these young boys are not fair. They are not bad. They are innocent.”



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