Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has promised to set up a panel of enquiry to unravel the facts behind the killing of Mr Ibrahim Momodu, a 22-year-old final year student of the University of Benin, shot by the police in Benin City on May 27.
The Governor made the disclosure during a meeting with the family of the deceased and his colleagues at the University of Benin.
“What happened is very unfortunate. Anything that leads to death other than through a judicial pronouncement, as a government we will not tolerate. However the Police have offered their own explanation to us which is different from the narration by the students and he statement from the family.
“The only thing all the sides agree on is that late Momodu was shot and killed. That is not in dispute but what is in dispute is why he was so killed. Whether the Police killed in self defense or if he was killed because someone was trigger-happy.”
According to him, “every story has more than one side, particularly when it is of this nature. What we can do as a government is to try to establish the facts and have an open mind. I have listened to the statement made by the mother of late Momodu and I understand how she feels, myself being a father, everyone of us readily imagine the pain in her heart.”
The Governor disclosed that, “whatever we now do will not bring Momodu back, but there are steps we can take to ensure we don’t have another incident such as this and that is about all we are able to do. We will set up an enquiry, I will consult with the Ministry of Justice on the proper nature of the enquiry whether it will be an administrative enquiry or judicial enquiry so that we can establish some basic facts to enable us take the next decision.
“I am not able at this point to say the Police statement is not incorrect nor can I dismiss the claim of the family and the student’s community that late Momodu was innocent. There is no empirical basis for me to reach a conclusion either way,” he added.
Comrade Oshiomhole said in the light of this condition, in other to ensure there is justice and fairness “we do need to establish the facts as much as it is humanly possible. On the basis of the finding of that enquiry we would decide if someone is liable and the degree of that liability we can then take steps within the law to get justice.
“Be assured that we are with you at this hour; we can’t replace a life that is lost, but we can take steps to unmask the facts behind the killing and as a government we will ensure that the law, justice and fairness prevail on the basis of the facts of the case.”
He advised the students to be law abiding, saying, “no matter how much you protest, no matter the nature of violent protest, chances are that more people could be hurt or even killed, but the one already killed cannot come back, but what I think you are entitled to as colleagues and comrade of late Momodu is to ensure that the truth peace and justice prevails.”
Earlier, mother of the slain student, Madam Osas Momodu pleaded with government to set up a panel of enquiry to unravel the mystery behind the killing of her son alleging foul play by the police. Representatives of students of the University were also alleged that the late Momodu was killed in cold blood as he was not a criminal as the Police were trying to portray him.