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A controversy is brewing over the death of a police chief in Cross River state, South-South Nigeria.

Gabriel Amawu, a superintendent of police, was the head of the police division in Obudu, northern Cross River State, when he died of a gunshot wound at his station around 9 p.m. on March 10.

The commissioner of police in Cross River, Nkereuwem Akpan, was quoted by The Nations newspaper as saying that the officer “died from accidental discharge from a gun he was trying to load” during a face-off between the police and students of the Federal College of Education, Obudu.

The family of the late Mr Amawu is saying that what happened to the police chief was not an “accidental discharge”, but a clear case of murder.

They are alleging an official cover-up and are calling on the police authorities in Abuja to investigate the incident.

“The late officer was shot at the Obudu Police Station, specifically inside the Station counter,” said Benedict Amawu, a lawyer, in a petition to the Inspector General of Police, on behalf of the family of the late police chief.

The attorney-general of the federation, Nigeria’s Human Rights Commission, the Senate president, and the State Security Service are copied in the petition dated March 20, 2020.

“To clearly establish the fact that the police officer was shot, we have attached herein Annexure 2 Series, evidently showing an entry point of a straight bullet directly on the right hand chest, beside the breast of the deceased officer,” the family said in the petition.

“The bullet from the gun shot went straight into the deceased officer’s chest and exited at his right arm/region; it would not have been possible for the officer to shot himself from that point and speculated in some quarters.”

The family said the late police officer was abandoned to die in a pool of his blood.

“The above is a clear indication that the act of annihilation, murder and ungodly killing orchestrated by the act of shooting was premeditated and neatly carried out with the intention to ensure that the life of the Officer was completely terminated.

“In support of the above fact that the deceased officer was abandoned to die, it is on record that it was an innocent civilian who later rushed the deceased Officer to the Hospital, by this time he had passed on.”

The spokesperson of the force headquarters, Frank Mba, told PREMIUM TIMES, Tuesday, he was aware of the Obudu incident but that he had not seen the petition from the family of late officer.

Mr Mba, a deputy commissioner of police, said he would find out the status of the petition, if really it was sent to the inspector general of police.

“We don’t even need a petition to do investigation, every death at a police facility will always be investigated. So, we don’t need any prompting to do our job,” Mr Mba said.

“If there are petitions, the petitions would be treated because sometimes a petition can also be an open-source intelligence for you. We don’t throw away such petition.

“If that incident happened in the presence of people then there will certainly be people that detectives would be talking to.”

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