The last may not have been heard over the inside story of how an officer of the Nigerian Police Force, Inspector Bassey Ikpe who works with the State Criminal Investigation Department of Akwa Ibom State Police Command had allegedly beaten to death a mother of three, Mrs. Deborah Mkpenie at the grounds of the State police headquarters, Uyo.
Late Deborah Mkpenie is reported to have died at Akwa Ibom State Police Command, Ikot Akpan Abia on Thursday when the deceased who appeared at the police headquarters on account of a petition against her was battered by Inspector Bassey Ikpe on account that she was lousy in drawing attention to her health condition.
Narrating the incident to The Mail Newspaper, the Senior brother to the deceased, Godwin Udofia in company of surviving family members noted that the problem started when the husband to the deceased who her late sister married to for over 20 years with three children died.
He recalled that the husband to his late Sister, Nkereuwem Mkpenie before his death on 12 May, 2019 and subsequent burial on 12 October 2019 had made his will public which he shared everything to everyone in his family.
Udofia revealed that few days after the burial, on 16 October 2019, one of the man’s son birthed earlier by another woman, Victor Mkpenie had in company of a stranger visited the property which the man with his sister lived until his death.
He said when he entered the rooms, he took video clips of every room including her sister who was in her room almost naked, picked a bag that contained documents of his late father who was a retired school principal.
Udofia narrated that when he finished, he locked the door with padlock which led to her sister to complain to Victor that she uses the room and that her health condition would not permit her to use the only room that leads to parlour in case there is a visitor in the house.
The brother to the deceased said it was then Victor Mkpenie replied that he is with the key and that his sister should cope.
He added ” When my sister discussed her plight to someone, she was told that the man does not have the right to lock the door against her. She went to National Human Rights Commission in Uyo.
” Victor Mkpenie who is a lecturer in University of Uyo was given a summon and he appeared with his lawyer. When the date for interview was fixed he failed to appear.
” But we were shock that on 28th November 2019 around 11am, Anti Cultism Unit came to the house. Victor drove in his car along with the police.
” They ordered my sister to stand up and follow them. She asked her crime, she was told that when she reaches the station she will be informed. When she was dragged off to the station, she informed them of her health condition of not being able to walk coupled with being hypertensive but Victor said she is lying and that is always her style “.
Udofia said that at this point, he was also arrested and when they arrived at Police headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia, they were informed that a petition was written against him and his sister.
He noted that when he read the petition, he did not see his name rather that of his sister, adding that he was however told verbally by the IPO that his sister wants to sell the father’s property and hand over the money to him.
Narrating further, Udofia said ” I told them that the only property I know of is the one my sister stays . I read the statement and signed. The OC Anti cultism granted us bail late in the evening.
” The IPO told us that the bail was N500, 000 for two persons. My Sister Mfon Itoro who had to join us at the Police headquarter paid N3000 and on the later day, the IPO came to the house and took balance of N7000 after we later agreed to pay N1000 the next day. He said the OC has troubled him so much over the balance.
” 4th December 2019 was the day of interview in the headquarters. We went, both parties were called, they complainants, Victor Mkpenie and his brother Aniekan Mkpenie claimed to be the only son.
” It was at that point my sister disagreed and told them that if the programme of their father’s burial is checked, the chief mourner who is Godwin Mkpenie would be seen as the eldest son. That was the point the complainants responded that Godwin Mkpenie was given birth to out of wedlock and that it was not the father that procreated him.
” Victor asked the OC to order my sister out of the house within seven days which the OC replied that he does not have such powers except the court.
” Aniekan Mkpenie at that point said my Sister should change her name that she was not married to the father but rather a tenant. The OC then asked them to bring the most senior son, Godwin on another day of meeting fixed for 18 December.”
Udofia stated that on the said day, the IPO took Godwin away and discussed long with him among Victor and Aniekan. He said when they met, Godwin despite the pressure informed them that the father’s properties were shared and that his father never told him about another property in Nsukara, Uyo which is now in contention.
Udofia insisted that the lands Victor and Aniekan mentioned were bought by the sister with her money. He said the documents of the land showing to have been bought in year 2005 is in the name of the children of his deceased Sister.
Udofia insisted that before now, when Victor Mkpenie and Aniekan Mkpenie got information that her sister owns a property, they went there with policemen and intimidated tenants at the residence.
The brother to the deceased offered insight to the fact that at this point, Inspector Ikpe did not allow the OC to see the most senior son, rather the IPO told him to return home that the case does not really need him.
He added ” Another meeting was fixed for 8th January 2020. We gave a letter from our lawyer that our sister’s health has deteriorating hence she won’t be able to make it to the meeting. We asked that the most senior son of the family and the family head should be invited since it is a civil case.
” The IPO returned the letter served by the secretary of our lawyer saying authority he has over the case comes from above. Since they rejected the letter, we were forced to report back to him despite the ill health condition of my sister.
“The OC asked where the most senior son who stays at Calabar is. The IPO said he came and stayed then went back. The OC queried the claim stressing that he was around and could have attended to him.
” It was at that point that the OC told the complainants that next time, if they do not come with the most senior brother, they should not come for the case again.”
Udofia revealed that at this point, his family because of fears that the IPO was compromised had approached the court over the issue on 3 January, 2020 although the case was registered on 9 January, 2020 by the Magistrate. He said a summon was consequently given to the Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom State Command and all the complainants; Aniekan Mkpenie and Victor Mkpenie.
The brother to the deceased stated that the Police had received the summon from court on Monday 13th January, 2020 and on 15 January, the sister called had called him that the IPO had come to the house with a team of policemen dragging her around the house for arrest.
He said the sister who is hypertensive and finds it difficult to walk while speaking on phone had raised alarm to him that the policemen may kill her considering the way she was manhandled.
Udofia added ” I heard on the phone how she was crying that they should save her that her blood pressure has risen that the IPO, Bassey Ikpe should please leave her.
” I heard on phone how the IPO said she is saying rubbish. Before now, the IPO had earlier promised to use basin to carry sister and kill at the station.
” At this point, he dragged her and hit on the floor from the bed naked. Neighbours said other policemen had advised him to take it easy but he refused.
“I rushed down, they took a tricycle, drove her to the station, when I arrived, I saw my sister in a bad condition. This was around 1pm. She was now dragged to the court.
“When we arrived, the court had risen. He took us back to the station. On the road, my sister was begging that he should be allowed to drink at least water. When her hypertensive condition gets bad, her face usually swell and that is exactly what happened. Yet, the IPO never listened but dragged her to keep moving.
“When they arrived the station, the IPO told the rider of the tricycle to pull her out or he handcuffs her on the tricycle that she is pretending. The tricycle rider had to beg him too to take it ease. He then ceased my phone in the process.
“When our lawyer approached him that the OC had earlier granted bail and that tomorrow I and my sister can still avail ourselves in court, he said we will run.
” Others had to beg him that my sister should be released so that she can take her medications, he said if she wants to die, she should die.”
He recalled that the situation attracted a woman who he recognized as the DC at the headquarters coming down to order the IPO to release him and his sister.
Udofia noted that instead of the IPO to oblige to a superior command, he insisted that his sister was pretending a situation which led the DC question the reason the woman was arrested under such a health condition that she as a lawyer detest such treatment.
He mentioned that the DC then ordered that if he can avail himself the next day he should but his sister should be taken to the hospital. Udofia said the intervention led to their release late at night.
Udofia pointed out that the situation made the DC inform the IPO that she wants to conduct a fresh interview and must see the case file.
He added ” She said she has seen the summon from court about the case and asked why the IPO had not honoured it.
” I asked what time we should return, the DC said we should return by 10 am. The IPO shouted over that we should return by 7am or 8am. The woman insisted 10am.
” At 8am on Thursday, she called my sister that she has jumped bail that the DC has asked after her and that she was very upset. My sister called where I was, I told her that I’m moving down there from Aka road. When I arrived, I moved straight to office of the DC. I asked where the DC is but I was told that she is yet to arrive that morning.
” To our surprise, the IPO had to go to the house with Victor. They brought my sister back to the station. When they arrived, he saw me there, dragged me and handcuffed me. He told me, ‘shey you people know too much’.
” He called one of the complainants; Victor to bring his car and ordered me to enter. The OC called him to come back and he ordered me out. My sister at this point was begging that they should allow her go to the hospital.
” He ordered that no one included my Junior sister, Mfon Itoro who wanted to rush her to the hospital should try it else they see what he will do.
“He asked who the DC is stressing that both of them work for the same entity; the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We went in, appealed to him to come and see that my sisters health needed urgent attention.
” At that point, he came out angry screaming that she has been too lousy in the premises and pushed my sister’s head and hit on the iron inside the tricycle which she was in.
” That was the point my dear sister screamed faintly that she has been killed and she slipped down and things started coming out from her mouth and nostrils. “
Udofia said at seeing his deeds, the IPO ordered them to rush her to the hospital.
Narrating what happened next, he said” We all wanted our sister to survive. Even before now, we had wanted to take her to the hospital. So before we could reach the school clinic still around the headquarters she had already died.
“When we arrived the hospital, we shouted that it is an emergency. When the doctor checked her pulse, he reported to us that she is dead.”
The brother to the deceased said when he and the junior sister returned with the corpse of her sister to the police headquarters, they were no longer allowed entry rather they discovered that the IPO had ordered policemen to send them away from the gate were vehicles are usually packed.
He said the Policemen at the gate even threatened to shoot the rider of the tricycle if he did not leave the gate hence the rider had to leave his tricycle there with the corpse and run for his dear life.
Udofia said the family later took ambulance to pick the corpse to mortuary around 4pm of the said day.
He noted that since the incident took place, their family members have not been allowed entry into the premises except their lawyer.
Udofia insisted that their family need justice hence have consulted human right lawyer over the case.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer of the Akwa Ibom State Command, Odiko Macdon said he does not have insight into the report hence cannot comment.
He said ” I do not have that report. I cannot comment on what I do not know.”