From Jefferson Ibiwale, Benin
A Coroner Court in Benin City, has ordered that the bodies of one Samuel Imaikop, along with three labourers who were shot dead by the police on November 24 at the Benin By-Pass, Edo State, be exhumed and an autopsy be carried out on them to establish the cause of death.
The Magistrate, F.E.N. Igbinosa, who presided over the matter expressed displeasure at the refusal of the state Commissioner of police, Foluso Adebanjo to respond to the summon of the court which was served on December 12.
He ordered the police to make the bodies available for the autopsy, by way of showing the location of the burial of the corpses, adding that full medical reports of the autopsy must be made available to the court when it resumes sitting on the December 24, 2013.
The four victims were allegedly murdered by the Police who tagged them as armed robbers, but dissatisfied with this explanation, Imaikop’s family members and civil society groups had proceeded to the court to ascertain the veracity of the tale surrounding the death of the deceased.
Counsel to the complainants, B.A. Iluobe, expressed dismay that the Police was not represented at the hearing even though he personally ensured that the summons was served on the police at the Edo State Police headquarters in Benin.
“I served the application immediately it was presented. We went with them to the police to ensure they were properly served. It is my supposition that the purpose of service is for the parties to be informed of cases against them in court, the days and time. If a party decides to abandon his case and refuse to come to court, that is a clear case of arrogance, they are not ready to defend, they don’t have a defense,” Iluobe said.
However, the Prosecutor, Ada Johnbull, an Inspector, rose in defence of the Commissioner of Police, pleading with the Court to adjourn the matter to allow the police get proper perusal of the summons and respond appropriately.