MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
Officials of the National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) from Abuja are already in Asaba, Delta State capital seeking to establish the actual circumstances surrounding the killing of two-year-old
Ivan Onoseharhe by a stray bullet allegedly fired by an official of the Agency while in pursuit of a fleeing drug suspect at Okpanam area of Asaba last Thursday.
AtlanticNewsonline gathered from NDLEA sources in Asaba that the investigative team sent from Abuja by the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the anti-drug Agency; General Mohammed Buba Marwa (retd) was
already collaborating with officials of the Delta State Government and Delta State Police Command to diligently probe into the circumstances that led to the unfortunate incident particularly with a view to addressing some allegations in some quarters relating to the incident.
The little Ivan Onoseharhe was said to have been hit by a stray bullet while playing with her sibling in front of his mother’s shop. Statement issued at the weekend by the Agency had indicated that one of its officials who had gone to arrest the suspect was knocked down with a car by the suspect and it was in attempt to demobilize the vehicle that another officer fired the shot which allegedly missed its target and hit the little Ivan.
When the officials noticed the incident following alarm raised by the child’s mother, the NDLEA officials had joined in rushing the child to hospital where he incidentally died.
A source in Asaba confided in AtlanticNewsonline that NDLEA officials helped in offsetting the bill in the hospital, though this has not been confirmed by parents of the deceased even as the Delta State Governor Sheriff Oborevwori was quoted on Monday as promising to offset the hospital bill for Ivan’s sibling still receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba.
Part of the issues to be resolved by the NDLEA, police and Delta State Government’s officials is the allegation by the father of the child who reportedly accused NDLEA officials of threatening to shoot him for accusing them of killing his son.
Another issue the investigators must resolve is the possibility of Ivan’s father identifying the team that shot his son and at the same time pursuing them in a vehicle driving behind a security vehicle along Okpanam Road in Asaba as shown in a trending video. This is against the background of the fact that he claimed in his interview with some journalists that he was not at the scene of incident at the time of shooting and it was his wife who called him on phone to meet her at the hospital.
So, investigators must be able to establish how possible or otherwise it could have been for him to be chasing the Agency’s officials in their vehicle while he was not at the scene of the incident.
Another issue for the investigators would be to actually establish the identity of the fleeing drug suspect whose action precipitated the shooting as alleged. Since the identity of the vehicle with which he knocked down the NDLEA official was known to the Agency’s operatives who went on the intelligence-based operation, it might not be too difficult to track the suspect down.
It would be recalled that the Commissioner of Police in charge of Delta State had at the weekend directed the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) in Asaba to take over investigation of the matter with an instruction that parties to the case should appear in his office on Monday (today).
When contacted on Monday afternoon to know the progress so far, spokesman of Delta State Police Command, Bright Edafe, Deputy Superintendent of Police told AtlanticNewsonline that the “State Government is on the matter.”