A police officer in Akwa Ibom state police command identified as Inspector Bassey Ikpe has allegedly beaten one widow, Mrs. Deborah Mkpenie to death over a civil matter based on inheritance rights.
An eyewitness and a tricycle rider Sunday Umoren told newsmen yesterday that the brutal murder of the widow and mother of three occurred last Thursday, Jan 16, 2020, following the invitation of late Mrs. Mkpenie by Bassey Ikpe who was the Police Investigation Officer (I.P.O) in the civil matter.
Umoren who brought the deceased to the Police Headquarters Ikot Akpan narrated how Ikpe attached to the State Criminal Investigation Department, (SCID) manhandled Mrs Mkpenie at the police premises.
He said, “The policeman approached my Keke which bore the woman, shouted at her that she was lying about her sickness. He made efforts to drag her out, in anger, he knocked her head several times by the side rail of the Keke. The woman was screaming that she is not well.
“She began to suffocate and found it difficult to breathe. The policeman kept insisting that she was lying that she was not feeling well. He even told her that, if she wanted to die, she should die. As the policeman kept trying to pull her out of the Keke, she was screaming until her voice grew faint.
“We even begged the policeman to refrain from his hostile act towards the woman. He even refused our taking her to hospital. It was after she breathed her last, that he eventually ordered that she should be taken to the hospital.”
Another eyewitness and sister to the deceased Mfonobong Peter corroborated Umoren’s explanation that Inspector Ikpe went wild that the deceased was lying about her state of health to escape being arraigned in court.
“My late sister was beaten to death by Inspector Bassey Peter Ikpe. He had threatened her repeatedly ever since this matter came up. My sister had waist pains arising from the dislocation she had while caring for the late husband. This made it difficult for her move about freely.
“She was also hypertensive due to the health complications that led to the husband’s death. But this policeman refused to take even the advice of the Deputy Commissioner of Police. I don’t know what interest he had on the matter.
“He had forced her to come to the police station, so that they could appear in court on a fictitious criminal charge, against the advice of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, the previous day. He beat my sister to death. I want Justice to be done”, she lamented.
She noted that when her late sister was rushed to the Police Clinic, the doctor confirmed she was already dead, adding “On returning to the police headquarters, we were denied entry into the premises by the police officers at the gate”.
However, it was gathered on Wednesday that Inspector was arrested on Tuesday January, 21 and detained pending completion of investigation into the murder case.
A human rights activist and Executive Director, Foundation for Civic Education, Human Rights and Development Advancement (FoCERaDA) Mr Clifford Thomas (Esq) described the action of Inspector Ikpe as highly condemnable.
Thomas who said the organisation petitioned the IGP,and CP when the matter was brought to her said “What this development means is that we still have police officers who needs further training in respect to observance and promotion of Human Rights.
” We are insisting on justice for the late widow because the action contravenes section 33 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). However, the reaction of the Commissioner of Police in the state is commendable.
“He swung into action immediately he got the report and after enquiries got him (Ikpe) arrested yesterday (Tuesday) and detained him while investigation is ongoing”
Thomas added that their brief has it that Victor Nkereuwem Mkpenie, Mkpenie Nkereuwem Mkpenie, and Aniekan Nkereuwem Mkpenie, stepsons of the deceased reported a civil matter based on inheritance and sharing of properties of the late husband of the deceased to the said Inspector Bassey Peter Ikpe, who thereon tutored them to frame up a lame charge against the deceased.
“The charge never came up but the deceased had filed for the enforcement of her fundamental human rights following the repeated harassment she received from the Inspector Ikpe and her three stepsons. The trio had threatened that the deceased would die and the case discontinued.
“On Wednesday, January 15, 2020, the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the SCIID , S. U Horsefall had warned Inspector Ikpe against his very obvious violation of police regulations and procedure and advised him to bring all the parties for interview on that fateful day to see if going to court would still be an option”
Several efforts by newsmen to get police reaction on the incident was abortive.
However, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Odiko MacDon, in a statement yesterday made available to newsmen said, “The attention of the Akwa Ibom State Police Command has been drawn to a publication in some dailies and online media that Police personnel attached to the Akwa Ibom State Police Command, one Inspr. Bassey Ikpe reportedly beat up one Mrs. Deborah Nkereuwem Mkpenie to death on Thursday, 16th of January, 2020.
“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”.