Family members of six Igbo traders who were murdered in Abuja in June 2005, on Friday, stormed the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to register their displeasure over the judgment of an Abuja High Court which sentenced to death two out of the six police officers who were initially charged for their complicity in the killings.
Justice Ishaq Bello of the FCT High Court in Abuja had, on Thursday, sentenced two police officers, Ezekiel Acheneje and Emmauel Baba, to death for killing two of the six Igbo traders in Abuja on June 8, 2005.
The two policemen were found guilty of extra-judicial killing of Augustina Arebun and Anthony Nwokike at the Gaduwa Estate of Abuja.
Delivering judgment in a nine-count criminal charge brought by the Federal Government against the six policemen, the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Judiciary, Justice Bello, had said the court had no option than to convict the two men on account of their own confessional statements that they shot the two traders upon instruction from a superior officer.
Justice Bello said the action of the two policemen was callous and barbaric because by law, they were supposed to preserve the life of innocent citizens.
However, three other policemen, including a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Alhaji Danjuma Ibrahim, Othman Abdulsalami and Sadiq Salami, who were charged with conspiracy and culpable homicide, contrary to sections 97 and 221 of the Penal Code, were discharged and acquitted by the court for want of evidence.
While protesting on Friday, the leader of the aggrieved protesters, Chief Chimezie Ifeh who is also the chairman of Apo Traders Association, vehemently opposed the court’s decision on the matter.
Ifeh queried the propriety of the court judgment, saying, “the real culprits of the gruesome of murder of the Apo Six are left off the hook.”
“We urge the AGF to appeal against the judgment and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book.”
A brother to one of the deceased Apo six victims, Mr Edwin Meniru told journalists that his brother’s death left the family devastated.
He disclosed that his father had died following shock from the gruesome murder of Chinedu Meniru, whom he said the father loved so much.
Addressing the protesters on behalf of the AGF, Director of Legal Drafting at the Federal Ministry of Justice in Abuja, Mr Tahir Hamzam, thanked the aggrieved families of the Apo Six for the orderly manner in which they carried out the protest.
The AGF promised to look into the grievances of the protesting families.
He appealed to the aggrieved families to remain law abiding, promising that judgment would be studied and appropriate steps would be taken to address the issues.