Mrs Victoria Agori, an evangelist, whose 21-year-old son was shot in her presence inside the IGP Monitoring Unit office in Rivers State by trigger-happy policemen, tells CHUKWUDI AKASIKE how getting justice has become an uphill task 17 months after the incident
Can you recall what led to the killing of your son by men of the IGP Monitoring Unit in Rivers State?
Last year, precisely May 10, I travelled and while on my way back, my first daughter, Felicia Agori, called and told me to buy fish for the family. When I came back, there was a quarrel on who would prepare the fish. I thought the quarrel among my children had ended; the next thing I saw early morning was men from the IGP Monitoring Unit in Aluu. They were in mufti and were armed. They came inside while I was sleeping and one of them hit my nose. That was around 8am on May 11. One of them called me a kidnapper and an armed robber, and said he would kill me and my children. I then told him that I am AIG Akpebi’s younger sister and an evangelist. He told me to shut up my mouth.
They asked me to move, but I pleaded with them to allow me to wear my clothes, because I was only tying a wrapper around my waist. They said they would not allow me to wear anything and boasted that they would treat me the way kidnappers were treated. My son, Daniel Agori, was in the parlour sleeping when the policemen came. Musa and some of his colleagues pushed me to the gate of our residence. There, they hit me and my son several times with a pestle, which they took from the kitchen. A pregnant lady, who visited us, was told to lie on the ground and the policemen marched on her. The fired several gunshots and people began to shout.
The N200,000 that I wanted to give to widows and buy some items for prison inmates was taken away by the policemen. Even the small amount of money that I kept under my pillow, some of my clothes and shoes were taken away. They destroyed things in the house. One of them, Bello Yusuf, collected the radio my daughter brought from Ghana and our phones. Bello Yusuf led the police squad to my house. The shoes I bought (wholesale for business) for N2.8m were all taken away.
The one that was shocking to me was that while they were taking us away in their vehicle, two of the policemen forced my legs open and began to thrust in and out the nozzle of one of their guns into my private parts. The pain was severe and there was blood everywhere from my private parts. When they noticed they had run out of fuel, one of them immediately dipped his hand into my son’s pocket and took money with which they bought fuel and seized the money that was left.
Immediately we got to the IGP Monitoring Unit’s office, the commander there then, Justin Adaka, came out. He gave orders that they should kill my two sons immediately. They used cloth to blindfold my sons. I shouted when I saw what was happening. While I was inside, blood was still coming out from my private parts and it was dropping on the floor where they kept us. Within a short time, they came to where we were, shot and killed my last born, Daniel Agori. They later came and cleaned the blood that splashed on the ground.
On the third day, I saw one of the policemen; he wore my late son’s shoes. When my lawyer came, the IGP Monitoring Unit intimidated us. They began to lie that they recovered a gun in my house, an allegation that is unfounded. They also accused my 21-year-old son of raping a 90-year-old woman.
What happened afterward?
When my husband, who is a retired naval officer, tried to intervene, they forced him to sit on the floor and told him that he was not at a naval base. They later allowed us to go. The pregnant lady stayed in their cell for over a week before they allowed her to go. On this matter, the women lawyers’ group has written to the state Commissioner of Police, but nothing has been done.
Who invited the IGP Monitoring Team operatives to your house?
My daughter, Felicia Agori, called her boyfriend, who is a policeman, to intervene in the quarrel.
What is the name of the policeman, who is your daughter’s boyfriend?
His name is Victor Nelson.
Did you say anything that might have offended the policemen before they arrested all of you?
No, I never said anything to offend them.
Can you identify the policemen that violently pushed the nozzle of a gun into your private parts?
Yes, I know them. If I see them, I can recognise them. Bello held my right leg, while Musa held my left leg and pushed the gun nozzle into my private parts. It was Musa that did it, I don’t know his surname.
What about the then Commander of the IGP Monitoring Unit in Aluu, Justin Adaka?
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Have you tried securing the services of a lawyer in your effort to get justice?
Yes, somebody took me to one Senior Advocate of Nigeria. He has written to the IG, but the IG has not responded to his letter till now.
Why has the matter not gone to court?
Lack of funds has been the reason. But the SAN said he would take the matter to court at the end of this month.
What has your husband done to ensure the family gets justice?
My husband, Princewill Agori, has been calling the police, but they have been promising him that they would bring those involved in the killing of our son to justice, but nothing has been done. I have been to Abuja (Force headquarters) more than five times since the incident happened. Since they killed my son, not even one of the policemen has been arrested. Justin Adaka, Bello Yusuf and the other one are allowed to walk freely. One of the police committee members, Albert, said even with what had happened, Bello, Justin Adaka and Musa would continue to wear their uniform and earn their salaries.
What about Victor Nelson, the policeman that brought in his colleagues to your house?
He has not shown up at the Force headquarters. I don’t know if he and my daughter are still in a relationship; my daughter told me that she did not tell Nelson to kill her brother, but to only beat and caution him not to disrespect her. My daughter promised to come and testify if the police invite her.
Have you buried your son, Daniel?
I don’t even know where those who killed my son kept his corpse. When they shot him inside their station in my presence on May 11, 2019, I don’t know where they kept his corpse till today. At the police headquarters, they promised to provide my son’s corpse, but till this moment, I have not seen the corpse. This is one year and five months since the incident happened; they have not released my son’s corpse to me.
The committee members said if we want our matter to be settled, we should know what to do. They are even asking for money, which they said would be used to investigate the matter. They said the money would make the investigation to be fast. They said if I want Nnamdi Omoni (Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer) to come and testify, I would pay his hotel bill; I would pay for his flight, so that he would come to testify. When I said I had no money, they said this was why the investigation is being delayed. They said if we could provide the money, they would start work immediately.
What exactly do you want the Nigeria Police to do for you in this matter?
I want the police to give me justice by bringing those who killed my son to justice. I have gone through rough times. My health has deteriorated. I have swollen legs and I have been in and out of hospital since they killed my son. I want the IG to arrest these persons, including Justin Adaka, for the evil they did to me. I cannot walk very well as a result of the beating I received from them. So, the IG should ensure that they face justice. The police told me that they were seven in number.
How have you been coping without your son?
I cry every day. In the night, I can’t sleep because I am always overwhelmed by the thoughts of how he was killed without committing any offence. As it is now, I don’t have peace. My son was 21 years old when he was murdered.
What went through your mind when the policemen shot him in your presence?
It was as if I was dead; I saw myself in the other world, because he was a child I carried in my womb for nine months. When they shot him, I remembered the day I gave birth to him. I was told it would be through a caesarean section, but my pastor said I would be delivered of the baby in a natural way before 2am, and it happened. But see how the police killed him. I have not been myself since Daniel died. I almost had a stroke when the incident happened.