By Emeka Nwokocha
Frontline human rights defender, the Conference for the Actualisation of Human Rights (CAHR), has called on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to as a matter of urgency, compensate the family of a Nigeria Police Officer, Cpl. Stanley Etaga, who was killed in line of duty by the EndSars protesters at Otovwodo town, Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State.
CAHR made the call on behalf of the family of the victim via a letter it “transmitted” to governor Ifeanyi Okowa, and made available to journalists in Warri, Wednesday 23 December, 2020.
The letter, which was signed by the National Adviser, and Secretary of the group, Pastor Edewor Egedegbe, and Comrade Atiku Sunday, decried the silence of governor Ifeanyi Okowa over the plight of the victim’s family since the ugly incident happened on 8 October, 2020, describing it as deliberate insensitivity to the plight of a citizen.
The letter demanded that late Etaga be declared the “hero of the Nigeria Police Reform, 2020 at least in Delta state.”
The letter further demanded that the family of late Etaga should be compensated with the sum of N30 million including scholarships for the deceased four children to university level; and employment for the victim’s wife within the state civil service, to enable her cater for the victim’s children.
Pastor Egedegbe briefed newsmen that the Delta State government had been nonchalant about the plight of the victim’s family, noting that efforts to get the government to do the needful had been unsuccessful.
The group expressed surprise that late Cpl. Stanley Etaga, despite being a Deltan, the Delta State government is silent and denying his family the needed attention. They recalled that in Lagos, Rivers, Anambra and other states, the families of policemen who lost their lives during the EndSars protest were duly compensated.
Making reference to Lagos State, the group said, “be reminded that by fiat, the Lagos State government paid N30 million to each of the families of the deceased policemen who didn’t hail from the state. But here in Delta State, a Nigerian Police officer of Delta State origin was killed and Your Excellency is silent and denying his family the needed attention.”
The letter reads in part: “We write on behalf of the family of Late Cpl. Stanley Etaga, an Urhobo-born Nigerian and a native of Assah, Ewu, Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State. It is our findings that the Cpl. Stanley Etaga who joined the police force on the 17th of October 2011 was promoted to the rank of Corporal in June 2016 and seven days after he was murdered, he was promoted to sergeant.
The late Sgt. Stanley Etaga, prior to his death, was serving under the Delta State Police Command of the Nigerian Police Force.
“That the Late Sgt. Stanley Etaga was murdered on the 8th of October, 2020 by the “ENDSARS” Protesters at the Otovwodo town, Ughelli North local government area of Delta State while on lawful duty at about 16:00 hours. He was mobbed to death in Ughelli by the protesters he was deployed to protect, which was the reason he did not pull the trigger even when it was obvious he was going to die. His rifle was stolen, though later recovered with its magazines still fully loaded save for few missing bullets as reported. The above finding goes to show that the deceased was peaceful and exibited professionalism in managing the crisis that took his life.”
The letter continued, “the above is a sufficient ground to recommend that late Sgt. Stanley Etaga be declared the hero of the Nigeria Police Reform 2020, as against the silence of your government which is deemed to be a deliberate insensitivity to the plight of a citizen.
Nigerians took to the streets in October, 2020, protesting against some of the ills of government against the people, ranging from fuel price hike, electricity tariff hike, ENDSARS/SWAT, END CORRUPTION amongst others, and as it stands, Nigerians are tired of government setting up commissions of enquiries without implementing the recommendations of same over the years, as we cannot keep doing things the same way and expect different results.
“Considering the agitation and the determination of Nigerians, speaking through the youths this time around, we are calling on the Federal, State, NASS and Local government leaderships across the country to urgently conduct self appraisal on itself with a view to addressing the failures of governments in this country.
At this point, we would like to appreciate the sensibility of the genuine protesters and the police authority for their civility thus far in managing the protest across the country. It is on record that the #ENDSARS protest started with a social media post from Ughelli, Delta State first week of October in reaction to the unbearable conduct of SARS police officers in the State, while the protest seemed to be yielding positive result towards the rebirth of Nigeria police and other government agencies, all the commentaries have refused to mention a Nigeria police officer, Cpl. Stanley Etaga who was killed by supposed protesters in Ughelli on Thursday 8th October 2020.
The letter further stated, “the family have through our office petitioned the Delta States panel on police brutality and extortion whereupon the panel declined jurisdiction on the ground that the petition to enforce the right of the slain police officer is outside the scope of the committee/panel.
To this end therefore, we call on the Delta state Government to treat this case specially by reaching out to the family of the Late Sgt. Stanley Etaga with a view to assuaging their pains through compensation, as her counterpart states of Lagos, Anambra, Rivers and others have demonstrated, and it should extend the scope of the panel to accommodate cases of murder involving police officers.”