After four-year long trial, a Port Harcourt High Court on Monday handed down death penalty to a police sergeant and life sentence to other police officers for killing two bus passengers while struggling with a bus driver over N100 bribe.
The trial judge, Justice Georgewill while pronouncing the judgment said that the convicts conspired to murder the victims, Chinyeaka Kamalu and Ugochukwu Harcourt, on January 17, 2010, in the state capital for no just cause.
Justice Georgewill pronounced death sentence by hanging on
Sergeant Clement Indyel, while Sergeant Ali Bello and PC Auwalu Kwale respectively, were sentenced to life imprisonment.
According to him, the convicted policemen, who were serving under the State Police Command, were charged for felony, murder and conspiracy by the state, for the murder of the victims, who were among the passengers attacked by the three officers over N100 bribe.
He said that having heard the submissions made by the counsels and gone through the evidence presented before the court, he upheld that the convicted officers conspired to murder the two persons in the bus because the driver refused to pay them the bribe of N100.
The trial judge said the result of the autopsy conducted on the remains of the victims, which was tendered in court, showed that the wound sustained by them was bullet wound from AK47 rifles fired by the officers.
He said the only way the souls of the victims could rest in peace for unjust murder by police officers who were meant to protect them was to allow law to take its cause.
According to him “Ali Bello is hereby sentenced to life imprisonment, Auwalu Kwale is hereby sentenced to life imprisonment”.
As part of the judgement, Justice Georgewill also ordered the State Police Commissioner to re-arrest other officers who were suspects on the matter to face the law.
Reacting shortly after the judgement, , the sister to late Kamalu, Mrs. Chinyere Ideoha, told journalists that she was happy with the verdict, though her sister could not be brought back.
“My sister was shot by the above officers who were chasing the bus drivers at Woke’s Street, Mile 4 Rumueme, Port Harcourt, for the bribe of N100. It is sad that my sister was among those who died but the judgment is a victory for the death.”