Friday 17th December 2021: A young man, Christian Konor Ehime, has been allegedly killed by soldiers attached to the railway checkpoint in Igbanke, Edo State.
Konor is said to have been assaulted by the soldiers shortly after he escaped from the hands of kidnappers.
His mother, a police officer in Agbor, Delta State, Ehima Mercy said she found her son in a terrible state on a dusty road where the soldiers left him.
She told Foundation for Investigative Journalism that he later died at a hospital.
On December 10, Konor had left the house of a cousin of his on a journey to his mother’s house which should normally take 35 minutes. He, however, found it difficult getting any bus around 5pm at the bus stop. This prompted his mother to call his phone around 7.30pm, only to hear a strange voice.
“I asked them, ‘Who are you?’ And they claimed to be soldiers stationed at the railway checkpoint between Igbanke and Epon. I introduced myself as a police officer and I asked them where my son was,” she said.
“The soldiers did not say they had beaten him but claimed my son had dragged their guns with them (to struggle to take possession). I began to plead with the soldiers not to touch him. Then they asked me to come and see them.”
She said she went to meet the soldiers who showed her where her son was.
“When I saw my son, dust was all over him. So one may not recognise him. He was only in his boxers. They did not give me his trousers; I knew it was because they wanted to tell a different story to the police,” she said.
FIJ reported that Konor couldn’t get up to meet his mother because his legs were broken and his spine was inflicted with heavy injury. The Foundation said the soldiers alleged that he displayed signs of lunacy.
“Seeing how my son was, I pleaded with them to use their van to take him to a nearby hospital, but they refused because I am a police officer. I immediately called my family doctor, who then took another hour before he got to Igbanke,” she said.
“I looked at my son and every part of his body was covered with clay. He was half-conscious and his eyes were dim. He was heavy. I then pleaded again with the soldiers to lend us their van.”
At the hospital, Konor’s request for food was declined by the doctor who told his mother that he had internal bleeding.
Mercy also shared what her son told her about his experience with the kidnappers
“Konor said when he found out he was in a kidnapper’s bus, he jumped out of the moving vehicle and hid in a bush. He texted ‘I love you mummy’ at this point, but I didn’t get it because I was cooking. When he saw a snake, he ran out of the bush and saw some soldiers,” she said.
“He said he ran to the soldiers, but on seeing him, they cocked their guns. He attempted to explain, but he was asked to shut his mouth up and lie on the ground.”
She said the soldiers later told him to stand up, adding that while he was standing, one of them kicked his legs before others joined in until he could no longer walk.
“After he said this, he died. The time was 2:47 am on Saturday,” Mercy who reported the incident at Igbanke Police Station said.
“One of them said I knew my son was crazy, and that was why I brought milk to the checkpoint. Another soldier said I knew he was a lunatic because I asked my family doctor if he came to the checkpoint with injections,” Mercy said.
“I thought the injections would make him stronger and the milk would give him strength, but the soldiers used it against me because he was no more alive.”
“The worst thing is, these soldiers are still at this checkpoint,” said Mercy.
She revealed that the Edo State Commissioner of Police, Philip Aliyu Ogbadu, has written to the army about the incident.
“Let her write to the military police in the state,” Army Spokesman, Onyema Nwachukwu told FIJ.
“The fact that she is a police officer has solved half of the issue. The army does not support bad behaviour; it is punished.”