Family alleges cover-up in murder of three siblings



The family of Essien Akpabio of Mente in Ini Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, has accused the police of shielding the killers of its three male members.

PUNCH Metro gathered that Charles, Emmanuel and Joseph were allegedly murdered on April 25, 2012.

They were said to have been killed in the presence of their aged mother, Mrs. Etim Akpabio, by yet-to-be-identified security personnel, who claimed they (deceased) were armed robbers.

The trio were also said to have been murdered shortly after they had a meeting with officials of a construction firm about to commence the construction of a dam in the village.

It was also gathered that the three persons, who were youths’ leaders in the village, were slain by security operatives allegedly working for a top politician.

PUNCH Metro further learnt that the Akpabios owned more than 80 per cent of the land in which the dam was to be constructed.

But the family, who insisted that the deceased were not armed robbers, said they found the claim by the police curious.

They said a discrete investigation should be carried out to ascertain the true identities of the deceased.

Addressing a news conference in Lagos recently, the founder, Liberty Foundation Gospel Ministry and the elder sister of the slain persons, Helen Akpabio, accused the police and the State Security Service of being responsible for their deaths.

Relating how the three were murdered, she said other members of the Akpabio family were no longer safe.

“I have never seen such a thing before-three corpses from one family in one day? Even if they had something against them, they should have taken them to the court for them to defend themselves,” Akpabio said.

The cleric, who wept profusely during the conference, said she was on behalf of her family, calling on all people of conscience to come to their aid and ensure that the murderers of her siblings were brought to justice.

Akpabio said, “My brothers did not know they were in the bad book of the SSS and the police who used their bosom friend to entrap them.

“The friend had lured them into having a meeting with a construction company to discuss the dam project as the youths’ input was needed. But halfway into the meeting, the security personnel swooped on them. They were handcuffed, beaten and eventually killed.”

She alleged that the security team still had one of the corpses, which it had refused to release to the family for burial.

She called on President Goodluck Jonathan and other authorities concerned to order the recovery of Emmanuel’s body which was allegedly taken to Obot Akara Police Station, for a decent burial.

She also urged that security should be beefed up around the Akpabio family as “ the killer squad will do everything possible to conceal any evidence of eyewitness in respect of the dastardly murder.”

The lawyer to the family, Mr.Victor Ukutt, said when they went to the Obodo Nkara Police Division to report the incident, the police authorities insisted that the deceased were armed robbers.

The lawyer said the corpse of one of the deceased was taken away by the police.

“We went back to the mortuary but the mortuary attendant said the police had come to take away the corpse. We went back to the DPO and insisted they give us the corpse. The DPO said the order not to release the corpse was from above,” Ukutt said.

He said if not for the wisdom of the mortuary attendants, the security operatives would have succeeded.

He therefore called on the relevant authorities to investigate the incident and bring the killers to book.

He said the matter had already been reported to the Presidency, the Senate, the SSS and to the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions.

But when contacted, the Police Relations Officer, Akwa Ibom State Command, Mr. Etim Dickson, said he was in Cross River State when the incident happened and was therefore not competent to comment on the matter.

“I was not around at the time the incident took place. I was in Calabar then and so would not be able to comment on the matter,” he told one of our correspondents.







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