The child, Ivan, tragically passed away at the Federal Medical Centre in Asaba, where he was.....
By Johnson Atoukudu
Mr. Fidelis Omhonria, the father of the two-year-old boy allegedly killed by stray bullets from operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Okpanam, Oshimili North Local Government Area, Delta State, expressed the need for justice for his family. He recounted how one of the officials threatened him with his gun even after he informed him that the gunshot had taken his son’s life.
The child, Ivan, tragically passed away at the Federal Medical Centre in Asaba, where he was taken after being struck in the abdomen by a stray bullet during a raid on a notorious location in the neighborhood, carried out by the operatives who were pursuing drug peddlers. Ivan’s younger sibling, Erhumossele, sustained injuries from broken glass that affected his eyes and is currently undergoing treatment at the hospital.
On the day of the incident, the children had returned home from school at around 4:30 p.m. and were inside their mother’s bakery shop. Mr. Omhonria revealed that his wife and daughter narrowly escaped harm as they were all present in the shop, eating corn and pear when the bullets struck his son’s stomach, shattering glass and causing damage to cupboards in the shop. He had dropped off the children at his wife’s shop after picking them up from school, with the intention of returning later to take them home after finishing the day’s business.
Omhonria said: “My house is about five minutes drive from the shop. I just left the shop and not more than seven minutes, my wife called me, she was shouting ‘babe please come back,’ that she noticed that my son’s intestines were coming out and glasses all over the body of the other boy,
“I had only just got to the gate of my house, so, I decided to go back. She called again and said they were going to FMC and that I should come and meet them there. I went back to the shop and I was asking people what happened, then someone came to tell me that he saw NDLEA officials pursuing boys that sell drugs.
“I saw one Hilux van of NDLEA coming towards the shop, there was another Sienna. They opened the door, fully armed. I saw another Honda, one of them opened the door in front of the shop and these guys were all with pistols and other guns.
“One of the boys told me that it was the NDLEA that fired the gun that hit my son. This gave me the mind to approach one of them and told him what they had done. The guy didn’t even listen to me, so, I brought out my phone and started to snap.
“The other one at the front noticed that I was snapping, he corked his gun and said ‘If you don’t give me the phone, I will bring you down.’ So, I said you have already killed my son, so why would I give you my phone? I am not giving you my phone.”
According to Omhonria, one of the operatives came down from one of the vehicles and asked what happened, I told him: “I told him the gun they fired had killed my son. He communicated with them with his eyes and they entered their vehicles and drove off.
“I got into my car and followed them till we got to Issele-Azagba, So, they stopped, and l told them that the gun they fired has killed my son, so they were begging me that it was not intentional, but I was telling you what happend but this guy was still corking his gun, threatening me.
“They then called their commander and they told me the commander said l should come with them to Ogwashi-Uku. They said I should enter the oga’s office. They told the oga their part of the story.
“The oga pleaded with me that I should not worry and he asked about their condition. I said I had not seen them because I needed to know where the guys were from. He said he would send some officers to know the condition of the children.
“At 6.30p.m., I got to the hospital. I met my wife and she told me they needed some blood.”
He noted that in that process, some officials of the agency came to the hospital, adding some of his friends donated the blood.
Omhonria said: “They didn’t allow me to go into the theatre that moment, they were battling with him and we were trying to see how we can sort out my other baby because the test was not ready.
“They were running around and between 11p.m., and midnight, the consultant said they should call me. The team said we had lost him that the damage was so much on his intestines.
“I now said since we have lost that one, let us concentrate on the other child. They took him to the theatre at midnight. The following morning around 6a.m., they came out from the theatre trying to make sure that there was no particle of glass inside him.
“That morning, I went to make entry at the GRA police station and they transferred the matter to the state police headquarters.”
In the meantime, Mr. Bright Edafe, the Police Public Relations Officer of the state command, has reported that Mr. Wale Abass, the Commissioner of Police in the state, has issued instructions for the matter to be transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID).
“As I speak with you, the matter is already being investigated by the State Criminal Investigation Department of the State Police Command and all parties involved will appear before the CP on Monday.”