Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM




The Youth Rights Campaign (YRC) condemns the brutal murder of Onyeka Emmanuel Ibeh by trigger-happy policemen in Asaba, Delta state. Mr Ibeh was fatally shot, in the presence of his newly wedded and pregnant wife,  while sitting inside his car by Inspector Ubi Ebri on Wednesday, April 5th 2023. The errant officer killed Mr. Onyeka for refusing to part with a bribe of one hundred naira to a team of police officers who were conducting a stop and search operation in Ugbolu area of Asaba. This is one brutal murder too many! The YRC hereby demands justice.

Mr. Onyeka Emmanuel Ibeh, aged 31, was, until his death, a popular businessman and phone dealer at the Ogbogonogo Market area of Asaba. While nothing can bring Mr. Ibeh back to life, it is however important to ensure swift investigation and prosecution of the culprit. This can go a long way in pacifying the grieving family and friends of the deceased. Hence, we call for the setting up of an independent panel of inquiry made up of elected representatives of the youth and labour movements, civil society organizations like the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and security agencies to investigate this incident and recommend appropriate steps to bring the killer police to justice.

It is disheartening that despite the EndSARS youth revolt about three years ago, which incidentally was sparked by a similar killing in the same Delta State, police brutality continues to claim the lives of Nigerians. It is as if nothing has changed and the police are back to business as usual! This is not surprising. It would take a complete overhaul of the way society is run for police brutality, which is an inherent consequence of the function of the police institution as a tool of oppression and suppression, to end.

We commend the youth population in Asaba who immediately embarked on a spontaneous protest march, with the corpse, to the police headquarters. The force of this demonstration did not only spur the Police Command in the state to take action on the matter by arresting and detaining the killer police officer, Inspector Ubi Ebri, but also extracted a promise from the Command to institute a criminal prosecution.

However, it is important that the youth and all lovers of justice in the state maintain vigilance to ensure that the police authorities do not sweep the case under the carpet. Inspector Ebri is attached to the state police command. This raises the question of how much confidence members of the public can have in the ability of the police authorities in the state to carry out an independent and thorough investigation.

There is a danger that a plot is underway to compromise the case. This is apparent in the interview the killer inspector granted before he was taken into custody. According to Vanguard newspaper of Thursday 6 April 2023, Inspector Ebri said the following: “This afternoon, we embarked on township patrol on Illah road where we were doing stop and search. I heard a voice from about 10, 15 kilometers, hold him, hold him. Before I could turn, the young man used his left hand to ruffle rifle noozle and said I will kill you and go with your rifle.

“Before I could turn to drag it with him, my belt entered the trigger and it fired. It was not intentional if he had not touched the noozle, I would not have followed it up. After this I have to go to my office to report. Nobody demanded money from him rather he refused to stop for check. We were five in number. I feel very bad because this was not intentional”.

From our own findings, this statement from Inspector Ebri is completely false and a plot to build a false narrative against the deceased. Mr. Onyeka Ibeh is known by all and sundry as a peaceful and industrious young man. The many comments and reactions on newsites to his death also confirm that he was an honest businessman and an easygoing person. As his elder brother Chinedu Ibeh informed the YRC, Onyeka could never refuse to stop for the police or even engage them in an argument because of his calm personality. Instead, he was always trying to avoid police trouble such that he did not mind to give out money at every check point even if the checkpoints are a hundred in number. As such, anytime he was driving, he often ensured he had with him money to pay at the several checkpoints that dot the state capital.

This was how much he had always tried to not fall victim of police brutality. However, on this unfortunate day, he had given out the last cash on him at a checkpoint immediately before he met the stop and search team led by Inspector Ebri who shot him in the head for failing to bring out money when he asked for it.

We hereby challenge the Commissioner of Police in the State, Mr. Ari Muhammed Alli, to live up to his promise to leave no stone unturned until justice is done. The YRC will continue to monitor the situation and respond appropriately.

Adaramoye Michael Lenin
National Coordinator

Francis Nwapa
National Secretary

Email: [email protected]