The Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), a civic group, has accused police personnel in the Delta State Command of demanding a sum of N515,000 before they could prosecute an alleged murder case.
RULAAC’s Executive Director, Okechukwu Nwanguma, called for the state police commissioner’s urgent intervention to ensure justice is done. According to RULAAC’s press statement, Mr. Andrew Vision Agalanga was stabbed by his companion, Mr. Dereck Ikwute (a.k.a. Okowa), in Asaba, Delta State, sometime between March 7 and March 8, 2023.
The family of the deceased reported the case to the police for due investigation and proper prosecution. However, RULAAC learned that rather than prosecuting the case as a crime against the state, the police officers demanded a fee of around N515,000 to visit the crime scene, conduct an autopsy on the deceased, and pay legal fees for the police prosecutor.
The breakdown of the fee demanded includes N35,000 for a visit to the scene of the crime, N350,000 to N400,000 for the autopsy, N25,000 to N30,000 for the compilation of an investigation report and the duplication of the case file, N25,000 for filing an application to prefer a charge against Mr. Dereck Ikwute, and N25,000 for appearance fees for the police prosecutor on each date of the case in court.
The family is not considering the murdered victim as just another person’s son. They just want the suspect, their son, to be released from detention. RULAAC expressed concern that the suspect’s family appeared to be exploiting the situation for personal gain rather than seeking justice. The group urged the police to conduct the investigation professionally and avoid exploiting the family’s misfortune.
RULAAC called on the police commissioner to ensure that the autopsy is conducted as soon as possible so that the family can request the release of the body for burial. They stressed that the family cannot suffer the loss of their family member and still be subjected to exploitation. The crime of murder is a capital offense against the state, and the family should not bear the cost of the police investigation. The family is willing to support the police investigators to do their job, but they cannot be made to bear the cost of police investigation.