Fourteen years ago, a gruesome murder became the talk of town. Fourteen years later, the mystery of the Apo Six is left to be finalized and proper justice, still to be served. The Apo Six were a group of five young men and a lady, aged between 21 – 25, who while on their way from a nightclub in the Area 11 Garki, Abuja, were shot and strangled.
On the night of June 7th, 2005, investigations revealed that the officer responsible for the killings, DCP Ibrahim, had his romantic advances rejected by Tina Arebun. Tina was out drinking and partying with her boyfriend and his four other friends. DCP Danjuma Ibrahim reportedly left the scene to report to the policemen at the checkpoint on Gimbiya Street, Ahmadu Bello Way, Apo and also to mobilize them for the attack which was to come. It was learnt that Ibrahim told these policemen colleagues that he had identified a gang of armed robbers in the area.
As the six victims left the hotel premises, they were waylaid in the Peugeot car which they drove and the officers opened fire on them. Four of the Apo Six gave up the ghost immediately while the other two were later strangled by the accomplices of DCP Ibrahim. Realising the extent of their folly, Ibrahim and his accomplices, who might not have known the real motive of the attack; eventually proceeded to cover up the incident by branding the victims as armed robbers who engaged them in a shootout. Locally made firearms comprising two pistols, two live cartridges, two expended cartridges, two daggers and one cutlass were later displayed and purported to have been recovered from the victims’ car.
The victims- Ifeanyi Ozo, Chinedu Meniru, Isaac Ekene, Paul Ogbonna, Anthony Nwokike who until then were spare part dealers in the Apo Mechanic Village, and the girlfriend of one of them, Tina Arebun –were murdered in cold blood in arguably the largest number of victims recorded in a police extra-judicial killing.
Due to the ethnic and law enforcement centred sensitivity of the gruesome murders, President Olusegun Obasanjo promptly set up a judicial panel of inquiry to look into the issue. The panel later found the version of the story of the policemen involved to be riddled with inconsistencies and utterly baseless. They recommended the case for trial. But as the matter proceeded to court, the hopes of families and friends of the murdered victims getting respite would soon be quashed when they received a verdict freeing the main instigator. Two of the officers involved – Ezekiel Achejene and Emmanuel Baba (both police constables) – were convicted and sentenced to death on March 9, 2017, while the presiding judge, Ishaq Bello, added that there was not enough evidence to convict DCP Ibrahim, who allegedly ordered the shootings.
In fact, reports indicate that DCP Ibrahim was freed by the court and has been promoted to Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) while his salaries and emoluments, all the way from his suspension in 2005, are to be paid in full by the Police Service Commission.
As it stands now, the Apo Six victims and the families which survived them are yet to get due justice and closure on the matter after 14 long years.
In all, whether this justice is delayed or not, whether there is a cover up ruse embedded in it not, we continue to keep vigil with the families and friends of the Apo Six in hopes that the law which helps to hold our society accountable does what is right in the end.
Featured image source: The Guardian Nigeria