Father of the 20 year old artist who was shot dead by a mobile police officer attached to supermarket at Elelenwo in Port Harcourt, Mr. Dominic Ikeaguchi, has claimed that the police made him to fund the autopsy of his son and all related expenses.
His son, Sleek, was killed on September 19 at a supermarket by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad(SARS) after he refused to allow them search his phone.
But after funding the autopsy, he was not given the result as they told him to apply to the court.
Mr. Ikeaguchi spoke on Wednesday during a briefing called by his family and the Rivers State Coalition of Civil Society Organizations (RIVCSO) to update the public on development on the matter.
According to him, “I was made to pay for the expenses of the autopsy, over 200k. I know it’s supposed to be the duty of the state. I asked the doctor if the results will be given to me, he said it is police property. Then I asked why should I pay? Even after the autopsy I was told I have to apply for it in the court.
“I spent 100k on the autopsy and the mortuary demanded 10k. Then other expenses like transportation for police from the headquarter to the hospital and back,” he revealed.
Mr. Ikeaguchi said his family had suffered tremendously since the untimely demise of Sleek.
“Since the incident happened we have gone through a lot of agony and suffering. God is a God of justice and he will do it through humans. My family has suffered alot and we need justice. This young man was not an idle boy. He is an Almaco Worker who also helps the mum in the market.”
Also Speaking, Sleek’s mother, Mrs. Agnes Ikeaguchi, who spoke amid tears, appealed to the Rivers State Government to intervene on behalf of her family to ensure the matter is not swept aside.
She said all she wanted was to see all the officers involved face the full wrath of the law.
“I don’t know where to start. When I came back I heard about the story, I thought it was only arrest. I was even thinking of how we will get money. This boy always help me where I sell fruits. The boy has been helping me, giving me hope that things will get better for us.
“As they killed my son, let them face the law of Nigeria. I want justice. Government of Rivers State should help us,” she said.
Lawyer to the family and representative of Sleek’s Community, Obizi in Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State, Mr. Noble Njoku, said the family is giving the state Police Command 48hrs to update the public about the progress on the matter.
He said that over two weeks after the incident, the police command was yet to visit the aggrieved family to commiserate with them.
He also said his Community had resolved to go to any length to ensure justice is duly served on the matter.
The Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, have refused to suspend their plan to embark on a nationwide strike on Monday.
The two unions had resolved to go on strike on Monday to protest against the recent hikes in pump price of petroleum and electricity tariff.
But when they met with the house leadership in Abuja on Sunday, Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house, asked the unions to shelve the plan to give room for negotiations.
Present at the meeting is a three-man team from Labour consisting President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; President The Trade Union Congress (TUC) Quadri Olaleye and NLC Secretary General, Emma Ugboaja.
Ayuba Wabba, and Quadri Olaleye, condemned the government’s delay in reversing the hikes as demanded.
Speaking after the meeting, Wabba said if the issues are not addressed, “all the actions pronounced will be taken as the notice expires tomorrow”.
He, however, commended the house leadership for its intervention.
“We also told him (Gbajabiamila) how the meeting with federal government went and how the meeting was adjourned and he has promised to also intervene at his own level to see that we don’t inflict more pains on Nigerians,” he said.
“In the course of the discussion, we have also realised that the House of Representatives has done a lot on the issue including recommendations which they have shared mutually.”
On the restraining order from the court, Wabba said the organised labour has not been served with any restraining order from a court in respect to the planned strike, and he asked the federal government not to ambush the unions with any court action.
He however noted that “There is a valid judgement of the federal high court stopping the tariff increase and that judgement is still subsisting.”
During the meeting between labour and the lawmakers, Wabba said the proposed strike was in the interest of Nigerians.
To counter Wabba, Gbajabiamila explained why Labour should not go on strike in the interest of Nigerians.
Gbajabiamila, who was at the meeting with Chairman of the House Committee on Labour, Mohammed Wudil and Deputy House Leader, Peter Akpatason, said shutting down economic activities through a debilitating strike will hurt more citizens the Organised Labour is seeking to protect.
He said there could be a different way to arrive at the same result as the legislature and Labour are on the same page, pleading for more time.
Gbajabiamila, however, offerred labour some palliatives which he said would be included in the proposed 2021 budget.
He explained that the budget would soon be presented to the National Assembly, stressing that some palliatives were being considered to cushion the effects of increase in electricity tariff and fuel price hike.
The palliatives, according to the speaker, includes distribution of food items, reduction of taxes on minimum wage and payment of some special allowances.
Others are involvement in ownership of housing programmes through mortgage and distribution of special buses to public institutions which run on auto gas.
Gbajabiamila said that the palliatives would go a long way to assuage the suffering of Nigerians.
He said the lawmakers would also make provision in the budget to tackle the eight million deficit of meters to enable Nigerians to access them.
Gbajabiamila, who described estimated billing as a scam, said: “I have never heard it anywhere in the world, so if we may have to provide for the deficit, we will have to do that.”
He appealed to labour to suspend the planned strike, saying embarking on industrial action at this critical time would not augur well for the citizenry.
“You know, you cannot go on strike at this time, if you go on strike, the people you think you are protecting will be at the receiving end, we share your philosophy regarding workers’ rights.
“We know what Nigerians are going through, our position on electricity billing is obvious, the only thing now is to continue to talk, I am concerned about the people out there.
“Shutting down the markets, banks and other places of work is my worry, I am concerned about the people,” he said.
Gbajabiamila said that there was the need for every Nigerian to be properly metered in order to capture the true cost, adding that the lawmakers would consider metering in the 2021 budget.
The national industrial court in Abuja had granted an order of interim injunction restraining the labour unions from embarking on the strike pending the hearing and determination of a motion before it.
But Emmanuel Ugboaja, NLC general secretary, said in a statement that the unions will go ahead with the strike and asked members to mobilise for a protest.
The Organised Labour in Lagos State has said all sectors would be shut from Monday.
He said airports, banks, and offices would not be allowed to function.
Deputy Vice President, Nigeria Labour Congress, Amaechi Asogwuni, spoke at a news conference on Sunday.
“No airport will be in operation in Nigeria; banks are not expected to function, so no business owners should risk himself, for Nigerian workers have taken that decision”, NAN quoted him as saying.
“We are the workers and we are withdrawing our services; we have the right to do so because protests are our constitutional right. And I believe we will enforce it; schools shall remain closed until this action ends.”
The labour leader appealed to Nigerians to join the protest.
He reminded them that it was part of their quota to democracy.
On the increase in petrol price, Asogwuni said the federal government should have engaged the organised labour and other stakeholders.
“The government did not do that at a time it ought to; it failed in its duty to engage labour before time. On the issue of electricity, the government had earlier had an interaction with labour in Kano and we discouraged it from proceeding.”
The National Assembly on Friday postponed resumption of plenary sessions by two weeks.
The Acting Clerk to the National Assembly, Arc. Olatunde Ojo, in a statement in Abuja, said lawmakers would now resume on Tuesday 29th September, 2020.
It will be recalled that the Senate and the House of Representatives had on Thursday July 23, 2020 adjourned plenary sessions to Tuesday, September 15, 2020, to enable lawmakers observe their annual vacation.
Ojo however did not give any reason for rescheduling the resumption date in his statement.
The statement reads: “This is to inform all Distinguished Senators and Honourable members of the National Assembly that the resumption of plenary session earlier scheduled for Tuesday, 15th September, 2020 is hereby rescheduled for Tuesday 29th September, 2020.
“We regret any inconvenience caused by this change of date.”