As the Imo State Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Police Brutality and related Extra-judicial killings sets to seat in Owerri, the capital of Imo State, civil rights activist, Okechukwu Nwanguma will appear to seek justice for the killing of 11 years old Somtochukwu Ibeanusi, during the forceful demolition of the Eke Ukwu Market by the Owelle Rochas Okorocha administration in 2017.
Somtochukwu Ibeanusi was shot dead by bullet, believed to have come from the gun of law enforcement agents, sent to disperse the traders, who had come out to protest the forceful and unlawful demolition of the market.
There had been a subsisting court injunction restraining the obdurate former Governor Rochas Okorocha from demolishing the market, but rather than obey or observe rule of law Okorocha went along, thus disobeying the order, and deployed army, police as well as hired thugs from the Ohaji areas on the market.
Okorocha’s attempt to demolish the market, started with the dumping of mounting of refuse in the area, as a way to force the people out of the place with the heavy putrefying stench from the refuse. His aim was to cause an epidemic that would decimate the population of traders at Eke Ukwu.
The former Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha in collaboration of Hon. Francis Onyewuchi of Owerri Federal Constituency, had undertaken the evacuation of that refuse to save the people living in the area from a pandemic outbreak that could spread across the city. However,Okorocha intimidated all tippers and disposal vans operators in Imo State to refusing to participate in the evacuation of the heavy stench of refuse that covered the entire Douglas Road for several months until those operating in Aba used nights to cart away the polluting refuse mountains that were eyesores in a market of all places.
Okorocha would go along with his plan, despite a court order ordering him not to, and unleash armed security men and thugs on the people, during which, young Somtochukwu Ibeanusi was killed.
Okorocha’s media handlers had tried to hide the story as false, but journalists had investigated the matter, and came up with the facts, while pictures and videos of Somtochukwu flooded the social media.
Regrettably, Somtochukwu’s death was to be in vain, as the market and the entire roads were abandoned and closed down for almost two years thereafter, until the emergence of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha. Okorocha had even dugged deep holes on the roads to prevent traders from evacuating their wares, goods and personal belonging.
OKorocha made a feeble attempt at restitution, by building a hospital there which was abandoned, and naming it after Somtochukwu. No compensation was made to the family, for the killing of their only son.