By Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Groups and human rights activists have joined calls for justice for the family of the Alafuro Peterside, the father of three who was shot dead by a policeman in the presence of his family at a popular hangout in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State last Thursday.
Also, the Rivers chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC has condemned the gruesome murder of 42 years old Peterside.
The APC, in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Darlington Nwauju noted that extra-judicial killings of citizens in Rivers State haave become one too many given.
The party noted that police operatives in the state have unenviable human rights record with the torture and killing of Chima Ikwunado in December of 2019, Lovenda Elekwachi in April 2020 and now, Peterside who, the party noted, was murdered in cold blood in the presence of his family.
APC therefore asked Rivers Commissioner of Police, Nwonyi Polycarp Emeka to ensure justice is speedily done in the case of Peterside.
The party also asked the Police Commissioner to ensure officers and men under his command undergo psychological and mental evaluation as well as compulsory civic and human rights education.
APC also urged the Police Commissioner to widen the scope of the command’s human rights desk and ensure only officers who have clean human rights record are recommended for promotion to the Police Service Commission (PSC).
While commiserating with the family of the deceased, APC, also demanded that adequate compensations should be paid to family of the deceased.
Also, a human rights activist, Charles Jaja urged Governor Siminalayi Fubara and the Rivers commissioner of Police not to allow sweeping of the death of Alafuro Peterside under the carpet.
Mr Jaja, in a press statement said thorough investigation should be carried out to unravel the circumstances that led to the death of Peterside, while insisting that the Police officer responsible for the act should be made to face the law.
”It is unfortunate that our late brother Alafuro Peterside’s life was cut short by a trigger-happy Policeman.
“It is a saddening incident and to note that a Police officer who was employed to save lives chose to abuse the rare privilege of being a Police officer.
“For a police Officer to have killed Alafuro in the very presence of his three children and wife, leaving them heavily traumatized, I know what the wife and the children are going through. Imagine when a child asks you, ‘Uncle why did the police officer kill my father?’” he said.
Rivers Police Command had in an earlier statement said the police officer attached to the Police Mobile Force (PMF) 43 squadron, Gombe state has been arrested and detained over the killing of Mr. Alafuro Peterside.
SP Grace Iringe-Koko, the spokesperson for Rivers Command had in a statement claimed that the Police Officer shot in the air in response to an alarm raised by some persons that there were robbers around the area.
She added that bullet from the gun of the officer hit Mr Peterside who was rushed to a hospital where he was confirmed dead and assured that investigation is ongoing.
Meanwhile, the Wife of the late Alafuro Peterside, Ebitari, had disputed police account of the killing of her husband.
She said her husband was shot directly and not by stray bullets as earlier claimed by the Police.
Mrs Alafuro added that she and her three kids aged 11, 8 and 4 witnessed the tragic incident and are yet to recover from the shock.
In another press release, Iringe-Koko confirmed that Mrs Alafuro has officially filed a complaint over the murder of her husband.
“On Monday, August 7, 2023, at about 1330 hrs, Rivers State Police Command received a complaint from one Peterside Ebitari of Polis Road, Elelenwo, Port Harcourt, that on Thursday, August 3, 2023, at about 2200 hrs, while at a Bar/Lounge in company of her husband and three children, all of a sudden, pandemonium broke out, and in the midst of the confusion, mobile Policemen from 43 PMF Gombe on Special duty in Rivers State on guard fired several shots that hit her husband.
“He was rushed to Savealife Hospital, where he was certified dead by the doctor on duty.
“Meanwhile, they have deposited the corpse at the Military Hospital Mortuary.
“The Policemen have been arrested and detained at the State CID for further investigation, and the outcome of the investigation will be made public”, Iringe-Koko said.