Policemen Blew Out My Son’s Brains

Mrs Grace Victor.

• Mrs Grace Victor.

Mrs Grace Victor, mother of Emmanuel Victor, who was shot dead by policemen in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, gives a grim account of the murder to OKAFOR OFIEBOR

• Mrs Grace Victor.

How did your son, Emmanuel Victor, die?

It was on Sunday, 16 October. We came to our church, Christ Embassy, along Sani Abacha Road,Yenagoa, for the second service at about 1 p.m. When the service ended, my son left before me because I was waiting for my leader. When my leader and I got to the main road, I took a bike. A stone’s throw from where I took the bike, I started hearing gunshots. I jumped off the bike to hide. I wondered what was going on. I saw a young man running across the road and I was wondering what he was doing, given that there was a downpour of bullets. I realised that the man was my son. I ran to an officer that was leaning on the police patrol vehicle, begging him to prevail on the policemen firing at my son to stop. I kept begging him and saying he was a Christian brother, who was just returning from church.

The officer raised his hands, but did not order the shooter to stop. The shooter did not look at him; he was reloading his gun and all of them watched as he shot at my son several times in my presence. When they were charging at him and beating him after taking off his shirt, he was running back towards the church. They blocked every direction he ran towards. I watched helplessly, screaming: ‘Leave him, leave him, he is my son. He is coming back from the church. Can’t you see his Bible? What has he done?’ Before I knew what was happening, I saw the fair one among them cock his gun and shoot at a close range. The first shot hit him in the stomach. They kept shooting. My son fell; his flesh was torn and his bone popped out from his elbow. As he was on the ground, he was shot in the head and his brain spilled out. Immediately after that, they hurried into their car and sped off. One of them dashed across the road to pick up my son’s Bible, shoes, shirt and a copy of Rhapsody of Realities. He threw them inside the vehicle. As I was shouting that they had killed my son, they threatened to shoot me if came close to them. I ran back. A sister, whom I cannot recognise now, took me back to the church and told the pastor how policemen killed my son. I was confused. Later, another police vehicle came to carry my son’s body.

About what time did this happen?

About 1.30 pm.

Are you are aware that the policemen that shot your son have been arrested and currently undergoing orderly room trial?

The police are very bad. But for you people (the press) and Warman Ogoriba, who represents Yenagoa/Kolokuma/Opokuma Constituency in the Federal House Representatives, who raised the issue on the floor of the House, they (the police) did not want to act on the matter even when we reported at Asikoro Police Station. If not for sustained pressure from the press, civil society organisations and men and women of goodwill, they would have branded my son a robber or militant. That would have been the end. May God protect everybody who took up the fight for my son from evil men. The Commissioner Of Police, Hillary Okpara, called to inform me that he has just been posted to the state. He explained that he was not in support of the action of the policemen that shot my son and that they would be undergoing an orderly room trial. I went to the Police Command with our lawyer. When the Commissioner of Police asked the one who blew out his brain why he shot, he said he thought the bullets were not penetrating his body. I told the commissioner that there were many policemen where my son was killed. The commissioner said that it was the three policemen in handcuffs that have been accused of killing my son. I have been calling on the Commissioner of Police to give me the photographs and names of the three policemen. To date, he has not done that. I don’t understand. Why are they hiding the names of the policemen. Why don’t they want the world to know the names? They claimed that my son was smoking Indian Hemp and in an attempt to stop him, he attacked them, broke their guns and they had to shoot him. The Commissioner of Police then asked them how it was possible for my son to overpower all of them. He asked why they did not shoot him in the leg and ordered that they should be taken away.

What actually did your son do to provoke the murderous aggression?

My son was said to have seen the policemen extorting money from commercial motorcycle riders and he said: ‘Na Wa o….Even on Sunday. Policemen, don’t you people worship God on Sunday?’ That was his offence. They started beating him, removed his shirt, shoes and started firing at him at close range as he made to escape.

What is going on in your mind now?

All want is justice. So many stories have been coming out about the wanton killing of innocent people.

What would you advise government to do to stop this kind of killing?

Why can’t the government give them batons? These guns they give them make them swollen-headed. That’s why they kill with impunity.

Do you still have faith in Nigeria?

Yes. I don’t have any country other than Nigeria. That there are few evil men does not mean that Nigeria is entirely evil. Those of you who are leaving your homes to give me a voice are Nigerians, too. But you abhor evil. I still love Nigeria, but I want justice.

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