Police Kills Lawyer After Paying Ransom


A few days ago, our colleague, Elias Ugwu’s life was tragically ended after he had successfully retrieved his kidnapped relation by dropping off ransom for the kidnappers.
The mystery surrounding his death would appear to be clear with the admission by the Police that the fatal bullets that killed him were fired by the Police.
His death as well as the circumstances of his death are as unfortunate as they are highly condemnable. I find unacceptable the explanation that the police shot at the vehicle because the driver zoomed off when ordered to stop.
The killing cannot be justified. It is not enough to shoot at a vehicle that has posed no threat to the lives of the policemen simply because the driver allegedly refused to stop.
If indeed, there was a need to shoot at the vehicle (which I do not concede), the same should have been done in a way to disable the car without hurting or killing the occupants.
The admission of complicity by the Kogi State Police Command is a damning acknowledgment of a grave error that has cost an innocent life. It portrayed the police as acting without regard to ensuring the safety of the occupants. It indeed portrayed a mindset that the occupants of the vehicle were the alleged bank robbers and therefore deserved to be killed.

Elias Ugwu, Esq.

The shooting also showed that police see nothing wrong in shooting at an anal fleeing vehicle even if the occupants have not acted violently towards the police or posed any threat to their lives.
Elias Ugwu was not a member of any armed robbery gang.
There was no indication he was a robber and was armed. Even unarmed robbers deserve their day in court. They ought not to be killed in the manner that Elias met his death.
He was in Kogi State with the noble intention of paying ransom for the release of his kidnapped relative, an act of bravery and compassion that tragically cost him his life. He did not have to die in the manner he did. I understand the importance of fighting kidnapping and other violent crimes but this should be done without threat or violence to unarmed civilians.
It is on account of this that I consider the tragic killing of Elias Ugwu, unjust and condemnable. The circumstances surrounding his death, as revealed by the Kogi State Police Command, are deeply troubling and demand immediate and thorough investigation. This calls to question the nature of training given to police officers, the rules of engagement governing their activities, and the chance for law enforcement agencies to paint a picture that death in such circumstances is in order.
The police’s reckless actions in shooting Elias Ugwu without proper verification or due process not only demonstrate a lack of professionalism but also a blatant disregard for human life and the rule of law. Their failure to distinguish between law-abiding citizens and criminal elements is unacceptable and constitutes a gross violation of the rights and dignity of individuals.
It is deeply concerning that Elias Ugwu’s death occurred amidst a climate of insecurity and lawlessness, characterized by the brazen robbery of banks and attacks on police stations. However, such challenges cannot justify the extrajudicial killing of innocent civilians who have committed no crime.

Afam Osigwe, SAN.

I demand a swift and impartial investigation into the circumstances surrounding Elias Ugwu’s death, to identify and hold accountable all those responsible for this egregious act of violence. Justice must be served, not only for the sake of Elias Ugwu and his grieving family but also to uphold the principles of justice, accountability, and respect for human rights.
I call on the relevant authorities to institute measures to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. Law enforcement agencies must be held to the highest standards of professionalism and integrity, and mechanisms must be put in place to ensure that innocent civilians are not unjustly targeted or harmed.
In this moment of sorrow and indignation, I stand in solidarity with the family, friends, and colleagues of Elias Ugwu Esq. My condolences go to his family and the entire NBA Nsukka branch. May his memory be a beacon of hope and a catalyst for positive change in our society.
May his soul rest in peace. Amen!

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