A DAYBREAK NIGERIA Special Report
*He Ran Mad In The Night So We Chained Him—-Police
*Widowed Mother Cries Out For Justice
In this special investigation, Daybreak Nigeria City Editor, Joyce Remi-Babayeju, takes an in-dept look into the circumstances leading to the torture and death in police custody of a young graduate, Erastus Emeya, in Abuja. The tragedy once again brings to light the unending spectre of police brutality and cover up in Nigeria.
The atmosphere at Relief Market located at Area D axis of Nyanya, a suburb in the Capital Territory on Thursday 6th April, 2023 was bustling as inhabitants went about their normal life while others gathered in drinking joints enjoying themselves.
Little did they know that an argument between two people could lead to the death of one of them, leading to police random raid and arrest of perceived suspects, leading to another tragic death of a young graduate, Erasmus Emeya under questionable circumstances in police custody.
According to witnesses who spoke to Daybreak Nigeria, trouble started when some youths gathered at the home of one Benjamin who has stabbed a lady called Blessing during a heated argument. Benjamin and the late Blessing are both residents of the Market community.
It was gathered that Blessing,had confronted Benjamin accusing him of insulting her boyfriend and this led to the stabbing of the young lady.
Chairman of the Market, Bello Adegboyega conveyed Blessing to the Nyanya General Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival by doctors. The incident was reported at the Nyanya Police Station, a group of police from the station raided the community and made random arrest of people at sight.
A MOTHER’S CRY
The mother of the deceased, Madam Rebecca Emeya, a widow, narrated how her son 33-year-old Erasmus Emeya was arrested, tortured and killed at the Nyanya Police Station.
In an emotional laden interview with Daybreak Nigeria at her residence and business premises, Madam Emeya in tears said that Erasmus was actually sleeping in his house, which is not too far from where she and her other children live.
Madam Emeya continued, ” l am a widow and mother of six children, Erasmus is my first son and a graduate. On Thursday 6th, April 2023, people were running past the front of my shop and I heard that Benjamin had stabbed Blessing to death over an argument,” I was shocked.”
My son Erasmus lives not too far away from my house, so when I didn’t see him, I told one of my children to go and call him and to inform him of what had happened because he is a member of the market Task force. My daughter came back to tell me that he was sleeping, I said she should go and wake him up, he came. After a while, he said he would go back home since the police had been informed. That was the last time I saw my son Erasmus alive!
Later that day I went to my house, then suddenly the police van landed in from of my house to handcuff me, so I shouted demanding to know what I have done, they said that my son had killed one lady, One police man in the team later said, no this is not the woman, the mother of Benjamin they are looking for.
Unknown to me, as Erasmus was going back to his apartment, he was picked by the police with another young man. I called his phone to know if he was back to his house, but no response. Since it was already dark, I went to bed. The next morning, Good Friday, April 7, 2023, his friend who was also picked called that they were inside a police cell. I went there to confirm, I saw Erasmus in the cell.
Meanwhile, on Saturday April, 8, Benjamin, the culprit was arrested and confessed that during an argument with late Blessing, he stabbed her, which led to her death. He also confessed that my son Erasmus did not know nor was he anywhere near the scene, that Erasmus was innocent.
While the police were bailing others who were exonerated with sums ranging between N10,000 to N20,000 each, my son was denied writing a statement or given bail, even when it was obvious that he was innocent of any crime. Since I could not effect his bail because they said I am a woman, I made arrangements with someone to do it for me.
TORTURE AND DEATH
I kept visiting the Station to see the DPO, but I was referred to the Divisional Crime Officer 1 (DCO 1), one Sunday Timothy. The DCO1 kept turning me back until the morning of Easter Monday, April 10, when I got to the station and did not see my son in the cell.
As I was being shielded out of the station by one police woman, inmates in the cell who were aware of my presence, shouted out and told me that on Easter Sunday night, the DCO1 directed that Erasmus be handcuffed with his hands backwards and his legs chained and shackled to a broken toilet close to the cell. I was told that the Police had beaten my son severely before he was pushed close to the toilet.”
I was in shock, life drained out of me, I started screaming at the top of my voice demanding to see my son! The police did not notify me that my son was in a critical condition and of his death.
HE RAN MAD IN THE NIGHT SO WE CHAINED HIM…POLICE
The police told me that my son ran mad during the night so he was chained and taken to the hospital where he was confirmed dead. They denied me seeing the body of Erasmus. When I rushed to Nyanya General Hospital, the nurse on duty informed me that his dead body was deposited very early on Easter Monday.
It was Timothy Sunday the DCO 1 who told me that Erasmus ran mad at night, so he was tied, after which he collapsed and died. When I asked to see his body, the police said that I should wait for the Commissioner of Police to give them the order to allow me to see the body.
The police have been telling me contrasting stories on how my son died in their custody. The Police tortured and killed my first son, who is the bread winner of my family.
Amid crying and sobbing, Erasmus mother, Madam Rebecca Emeya called on the Federal Government to ensure full justice for the unlawful torture and untimely death of her son Erasmus. Erasmus must not die in Vain, she repeatedly said. He was a promising young man before he was brutally tortured to death by the police.
Four witnesses have all testified that the DCO1 brought out Erasmus and beat him with “Gura”, a bamboo cain laced with poison. He could not move again, he had to crawl back into the cell . The witnesses told me that he protested that the killer was not beaten, but rather he was the one being beaten. The OC Surveillance ordered that Erasmus be brought out again from the cell, and he was beaten thoroughly with Gura a second time that night with his hands tied to his back and dumped inside the toilet. His body was dragged out of the sinking toilet unconscious and probably dead!. The police took his body to Nyanya General Hospital secretly and unlawfully embalmed him without informing the family. I want justice for the death of my son, l am a widow, Erasmus father died 18 years ago when he was 13 years. Now Nyanya Police have killed my innocent son.
When Daybreak visited FCT Police Command, Deputy Public Relations Officer of FCT Command, ASP Shamsudeen Ashiru acknowledged that the case of the death of Erasmus Ewuya has been transferred and investigation is still ongoing to unravel the circumstances leading to his death in police custody. Ashiru said, ‘ Autopsy is still ongoing to know the cause of the death of Erasmus”, adding that additional briefing on the case would be sorted from the public space while insisting that the Police has held a briefing on the matter.
Evidently, the police hierarchy are in dalliance over the death of Erasmus; Sunday Timothy, the DCO 1 Nyanya police station Abuja is still on his regular beat; the DPO under whose watch a young graduate was brutally mauled to death in the hands of men in his command is yet to receive any reprimand. The FCT police commissioner has only taken briefings on the case. The cold body of Erasmus is in the morgue crying for justice while the widowed mother of a death son writhe in anguished