The last has not been heard about the death of a traditional ruler in police custody in Calabar.
The monarch, Henry O. Okong, until his death, was the traditional ruler of Buanchor Community in Boki local government area of Cross River state. He was found dead in the early hours of Saturday, 25th August, 2018 by the police in their facility.
According to his counsel, Olivier Osang in a statement made available to TNN, “on or about the 31st day of July, 2018 at Buanchor, Boki Local Government Area, Cross River State, Nigeria, a woman named Julia Osang was tortured, murdered and buried by some youths on allegation of witchcraft without the consent or involvement of the Clan Head and other Chiefs. The Clan Head stays about three kilometers away from the scene of crime. On Friday 3rd August, 2018, the Clan Head and others were invited by the Police to Bateriko Police Station where they were arrested and taken to Divisional Police Headquarters, Okundi, Boki Local Government Area of Cross River State, Nigeria and thereafter transferred to the State Police Headquarters, Diamond Hill, Calabar.”
The counsel further stated that “at Okundi, the 76-year old monarch was detained for three days and on Monday 6th August, 2018 he was transferred to the Cross River State Police Headquarters, Diamond Hill, Calabar and the case was assigned by the Commissioner of Police to X-Squad headed by Supol Victor for investigation. In Calabar, the monarch volunteered his statement and stated in summary that he stays about three kilometers away from the scene of crime and was not aware of the incident until the police invited him and others to Bateriko Police Station, Boki LGA where he was arrested.”
He said the monarch's statement was corroborated by other suspects' statements and yet he was not released on bail within twenty four or forty eight hours or charged to court of competent jurisdiction in accordance with the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) but was detained from Monday 6th August, 2018 to Friday 24th August, 2018. Before he was found dead in the early hours of Saturday, 25th August by the police.
“Within the period the 76 years old monarch was in police custody, various prominent persons ranging from lawyers, retired Permanent Secretaries, Immigration Officers and Directors from his clan who reside in Calabar approached the police for his bail or release even on self-recognizance considering his status, age and health condition but the police in their usual manner turned down their requests.