The family of a 40-year-old truck driver, Cosmos Ozioko, who was allegedly brutalized by policemen and later died, are demanding justice over his death.
It was gathered that five policemen on a stop-and-search duty had intercepted a motorcycle, popularly known as Okada, conveying Cosmos and his younger sibling, Kingsley Ozioko, at Elele in the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
They were stopped while they were returning to their workplace at about 7:40 pm on Sunday.
Kingsley said their truck was parked near Reliable Farm where they work, saying the cops literally stripped them in the name of searching even when nothing incriminating was found on them.
He stated that in the process, his late brother and himself were beaten to pulp, while the former passed out and eventually gave up the ghost.
He said: “We took okada from the CPM roundabout going to Elele. When we got to the checkpoint, there were about five policemen. They started searching all over us. I was the first person that they searched.
“They searched everywhere including my private parts, but found nothing. They now searched my brother. They searched our private parts as if they gave us something to hold for them. In the process his phone fell and scattered.”
Continuing, Kingsley said: “My brother asked them (policemen) to assemble his phone and give it to him. They didn’t answer him. I was the one that picked the mobile telephone and put it the way it was.
“To avoid trouble, I now beckoned my brother for us to leave. As we were leaving my brother asked the okada rider who had been waiting if that was how the policemen were searching everybody that passed.
“The next thing, two of the policemen rushed him, and another one pounced on me. They started beating us, marching us with their boots and using the butt of their guns to hit us.
“They ordered us to sit on the ground and asked where we came from. We said Enugu State. ‘Where in Enugu?’ We replied Nsukka. They said okay this thing you people are doing in the village you have brought it here. One of them used the butt of his gun to hit us, the other two used the boots they were wearing on us.
“They were beating us until my brother collapsed. I started calling him, brother, brother. People brought pure water sachets which I used on him. He was still breathing then, but weak. So I asked the okada man to buy me milk if it could help.”
He further said before the okada rider returned, one of the policemen came with some drugs that he bought, adding that, “I asked him who prescribed the drugs?
“I rushed my brother to a nearby hospital. A nurse there said they didn’t have oxygen, so we should take him to Madona Hospital still in Elele. When we got there, the doctor checked him and told me that my brother was dead.
“Before I looked back, I only saw one policeman. The others have disappeared,” he explained while fighting back tears.
“I want justice for my brother. Let the policemen that killed my brother be arrested and charged to court so that his spirit can rest. My brother cannot die like that,” he added.
While noting that the matter was reported to the Police in Elele who now transferred it to the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigating Department of the state command, Kingsley said he was still in pain and was taking medication for the beating the cops gave him.