By Ambrose Omoregie
Last week, the Nigerian Police conducted an autopsy on the body of the Late Sylvester Omoroni of Dowen College. The body was thereafter released to the family for burial while the Police would continue with its investigation.
The autopsy was said to have been witnessed by the family of the deceased, families of the students accused of the act of bullying as well as the police and State Ministry of Health officials. Autopsy, as is known all over the world, is the first and most basic legal pointer in investigating cause of death.
Remarkably all the parties in the Omoroni case are maintaining a commendable level of maturity and keen determination to cooperate and support the police investigation and ensure that the rule of law is allowed to operate unhindered, even as each party wants justice served.
It would be recalled that the Late Sylvester Omoroni was a JSS 2 student of Dowen College who was alleged to have been bullied by some fellow students in what later led to the death of the youngster. Thanks to the video released by the Omoroni family, the whole nation was able to listen to the disclosure by Sylvester on how he was bullied. Public sentiments was built on, at least, a foundation of verifiable disclosure.
Sadly, there is another case- the case of Keren Akpagher, the late student of Premiere Academy, Abuja- which also is being investigated by the police but appears to have become, of late, an agenda for serving a purpose beyond seeking justice for the dead.
As in the Omoroni case, the police had conducted an autopsy in July on the corpse of Keren Akpagher in the presence of all the parties involved in the case. Customarily, the result of the autopsy would have been read to the parties while police would continue its investigation.
Thankfully, the BBC has done a story – https://bbc.com/pidgin/tori-59453675 – in which it featured a screenshot of the said autopsy report. The cause of death is there for all to see.
Though the police has not publicly released the autopsy report and full report of its investigation, the BBC report has helped the public with a sneak preview of the autopsy report.
In spite of this public knowledge, the mother of Keren Akpagher, edged on by a fledgling body known as the Coalition of Gender Based Violence Responders, has continued to canvas a claim not supported by any autopsy report in a move that appears geared towards rousing public anger against the school and the entire police investigation process.
The matter is being investigated by the Inspector General of Police, at the request of Keren’s mother who requested that the investigation be transferred from the FCT Police to the IGP. That request was granted. The school was not known to have opposed it. The IGP table is the highest echelon of the police system. That is where the case is currently. It is, therefore, baffling that the same person that requested investigation to be transferred to a specific head of an institution would not allow the investigation to run its course but would rather seek to truncate it.
Could there have been two separate autopsy done on the corpse of the late Keren Akpagher? Was there another autopsy report known only to the mother and not to the other parties to the case, including the police?
Keren Akpagher’s mother and the NGO promoting her case in the court of public opinion need to be more forthcoming. To date, they have not shown the world the autopsy report upon which their claim of Keren’s death derives from. They have not shown the world a single audio or video recording of Keren’s confession or disclosure to them before she died to back the outlandish claims being pushed in the media. The Akpagher family, it should be stated, does not fit the profile of a rustic, illiterate and unintelligent family that would not understand how vital it is to get a weighty disclosure such as rape of their only daughter down on tape, audio or video.
There is also another baffling question of why Keren’s mother and the NGO would choose to rouse the social media against the school in what appears as seeking to build enough army of angry, misinformed people that could be mobilized to get the school shut down and/or vandalized at all cost? Why choose public incitement against another party in a case you are involved and that is under investigation? What is the Law Court for?
Curiously, throughout the various activities and undertakings of the group, there has been no single call on the police to speed up its investigation or release its reports. If truly, the aim is to get justice for the departed, why is the group not talking of occupying the Police Headquarters? Or, putting pressure on the public to get the IGP to act faster in the matter? Why, instead, is the talk about occupying the properties and residences of the owners of the school and their other businesses?
On the contrary, why is it only the school that has been calling on the police to publicly release the autopsy and investigation reports? To date, the school said, between August and December, it wrote the Police three times, pleading for the public release of the autopsy report and report of investigation in the case.
Why has Keren’s mother not made this her first demand, in the true spirit of seeking justice?