From Chris Anucha & Tony John, Port Harcourt
The police officer, Inspector Johnbosco Okoroeze, who allegedly aided the escape of a ritualist, Ifeanyichukwu Dike, 23, who is said to have killed eight-years-old Victory Chikamso in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has been dismissed by the Nigeria Police.
This was disclosed in Port Harcourt yesterday by the State Police Commissioner, Mr Zaki Ahmed.
According to the police boss, Okoroeze, who was the Investing Police Officer (IPO) in charge of the ritual murder case, was dismissed by the Police Service Commission (PSC).
Besides his dismissal, Okoroeze was also arraigned at the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Port Harcourt yesterday on a two-count charge of aiding the escape of the ritualist and assisting the murder suspect to pervert justice.
The Police Commissioner disclosed that Dike’s accomplice in the crime has also been arrested by the police.
Ahmed, who could not disclose the identity of the second suspect, explained that the prime suspect mentioned his name, as the client who hired him (Dike) to procure human parts for money rituals.
“During interrogation, Dike linked him to the murder of the eight years old girl,” he said.
Also, the River State Police Command has promised to give a cash reward of N1 million to anyone who could give the police useful information that would lead to the arrest of Dike.
Meanwhile, a Chief Magistrate’s Court in Port Harcourt has ordered that the former policeman to be remanded remand in prison.
Okoroeze, 34 wept profusely as he was brought to the court in handcuffs in a bus with number plate FG 128 F50.
Count one of the charge against him reads: “That you Johnbosco, on the 19th of August, 2017, at about 2030 hours at the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Port Harcourt, in the Port Harcourt Magisterial District, did assist one Ifeanyi Maxwell Dike, who is to your knowledge guilty of the offence of murder of one Chikamso Mezuwuba, aged eight years, for rituals, to escape when he was to be detained for prosecution and, thereby, committed an offence punishable under Section 322 of the Criminal Code Cap 37 Vol.II Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999.
The second charge stated: “That you, Johnbosco Okoroeze, on the same date and place in the aforesaid magisterial district, did conspire with a suspect, Ifeanyi Maxwell Dike, and allowed him to escape from prosecution to prevent and defeat the course of justice and, thereby, committed an offence punishable under Section 126 (1) of the Criminal Code, Cap. 37, Vol.II, Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999.”
However, when the case came up for mention, the charges against him were not read and the plea was not taken as the first count was a capital offence, which attracts, at least, life imprisonment.
Chief Magistrate Sokari Andrew-Jaja, said the accused was facing charges for assisting a suspect to escape from custody and committed an offence, which, on conviction, attracts life imprisonment.
Andrew-Jaja also said the former Inspector was accused of perverting justice, stressing that any person found guilty of the offence would serve seven years in prison.
The chief magistrate, however, declined to listen and determine the first count due to lack of jurisdiction. But he said he had the legal standing to entertain and determine the second charge.
He, therefore, told the court registrar to remit the case file to the Director of Public Prosecutions for legal advice and urged the counsel in the matter to file their addresses on whether bail should be granted to the suspect or not.
He adjourned the case till September 14, 2017, for the adoption of bail application and the DPPs’ legal report.
The suspect now at large had allegedly defiled, killed and mutilated vital parts of Chikamso Mezuwuba.
Dike was arrested at about 1:30 am on Saturday, August 19, 2017, by a vigilance group in Eliozu area of Port Harcourt, while on his way to dispose of the remains of the victim.
After the suspect was paraded at the SCIID the same Saturday and statements obtained from him, he escaped from police custody and has since not been re-arrested. (The Sun)