A Senior Pastor of the Assemblies of God Church, Reverend Joseph Nwakpakpa; the Divisional Police Officer of the KpiriKpiri Police Station, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, John John; and a Policewoman simply identified as Chidimma, have been caught in a web of alleged controversy over the death of a retired school Principal, Inya Aluu, in Ebonyi State.
The deceased, a father of seven, was said to have been brought to the Police Station with his two sons over skirmishes with the Pastor.
This was as a result of a football that was played into the church premises by the boys and their playmates in the neighbourhood.
But the conflict turned awry.
Narrating the story in tears, the first son of the deceased, Nmesoma Inya Aluu, explained that when they were brought to the station, himself and his younger brother were kept behind the counter while their father was taken to a different room with the Pastor and the Policewoman, probably for interrogation.
However to his greatest surprise, he was hurriedly released with his brother after some minutes and was asked to rush their father to the hospital.
Nmesoma narrated: “When I saw my father, he was lying almost lifeless on the floor and I insisted they must tell me what happened to him.
“I also declined taking him to the hospital without adequate explanation.
“At that juncture, the DPO mobilized his people and they hired a tricycle and put my father’s body inside for movement to the hospital.
“Then I had no choice than to join the tricycle with my father to the hospital where he was immediately confirmed dead.
“None of the police people joined us to the hospital.”
The dead man’s son suspected that his father, who is from Ezi-Akputa Compound, Mgbom village in Afikpo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, must have been tortured to death by the Police.
He further narrated that prior to their being taken to the Police Station, himself and his brother were held hostage inside the church premises as they went to beg the pastor for their ball.
This was as a result of initial altercation between them and the pastor over the incident.
He said: “My father came into the church premises to rescue us when the Policewoman, known a Chidimma, slapped him twice.
“She took me and my brother outside the gate and started beating us and later handcuffed us.
“The Policewoman, who was on maternity leave, was called by the Pastor, so she was on mufti and not on duty when all these were happening.”
The wife of the deceased, Ngozi Inya-Aluu, who said she only met her husband’s lifeless body at the hospital following an emergency call she received, added that she had already gone to her shop when the scenario played out.
According to Ngozi: “On reaching the hospital and finding my husband already dead, I was utterly confused…and we had to take the corpse back to the Kpirikpiri Police Station for the Police to offer explanation.”
She beckoned on the federal and state governments, security agencies and other appropriate authorities to intervene and bring justice over her husband’s inexplicable death, adding that catering for her seven children will not be easy.
All efforts made to reach the senior pastor of the Assemblies of God Church before filling this report, including phone calls, failed.
Meanwhile, the state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Loveth Odah, confirmed the incident when contacted, but denied the direct involvement of the Policewoman who she also confirmed was on maternity leave.
Odah said: “On 29th of August, 2018, the DPO of Kpirikpiri Division said that there was a call from the Assemblies of God Church at Nri Street, Kpirikpiri that children were playing football and they played into the church premises.
“So the security man, whose name I do not know, seized the ball because he said that it was a regular thing, which he said disturbed the occupants during the church hours.
“So, yesterday unfortunately the ball entered there and the security officers seized it.
“According to them, children started throwing stones on top of the zinc of the church.
“Along the line, the church security man decided to open the door to see who was doing it.
“When he saw the two children who were doing it, he accosted them into the premises and now called the policewoman who handled their matter before.
“The policewoman was actually on maternity leave.
“She was passing through the church to go and fill her gas cylinder, according to her.
“She parked her bike and entered inside to see what was happening.
“The security man opened the door for her and the access paved a way for the children’s father (the deceased) to enter into the church premises.
“And according to the policewoman, they were all judging the matter as children’s play, which should be allowed to pass.
“But the father to the children insisted that since he has accosted the children inside and by so doing, illegally detaining them, Police must be aware of it.
“The policewoman assisted them to the police station and went her own way because she was not on official duty.”
Odah said the deceased was not tortured.
However, further investigation by our reporter pointed to the fact that the deceased had a history of a high blood pressure.