March 4, 2021

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The Abandoned Police Accident Victim In Yenagoa

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Last week, there was a news report about Shedrach Ogbonna, the 43-year old phone repairer from Ebonyi State, who was hit and crushed by a police Hilux van on May 6, 2019 in front of the Ekeki Motor Park near the Seriake Dickson Shopping Mall in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
According to reports, the police patrol van that crushed Mr. Ogbonna was speeding against traffic when it hit the victim who was trying to cross to the other side of the road to buy an item to fix a client’s phone.
Medical reports show that Ogbonna sustained a brain damage and multiple fractures in his legs and hands and also broke his spinal cord, which led to him being permanently incapacitated at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Yenagoa and has been in a state of coma for the past seven months.
The situation has brought an untold hardship to the family of the victim whose wife and five children now sleep under a staircase at the hospital in a most inhumane condition. This is because the family has been evicted from their apartment since June, 2019 when their rent expired but could not renew it as a result of the ugly incidence.
Apart from the rent saga, the hospital management has withdrawn their medical services because of his indebtedness to the tune of N1million. Consequently, Ogbonna is no more on oxygen which had been surviving him neither is he receiving treatment. The man has been left to fate and abandoned to die.
In defense of their actions and inactions, the police claimed that they have been supporting the victim with drugs and funds. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Bayelsa State police command, Mr. Asinim Butswat said last week that the command was doing its best to ameliorate the suffering of the victim.
While the ding-dong affair between the family and the police continues, Ogbonna is dying slowly. We do not think the police have acted well in their handling of the accident victim.
The proper thing should be for the police to take responsibility. Or at the very worse, the policeman that hit him should be made to pay for Ogbonna’s bills. Afterall, he committed a traffic offence in the first place; except the police are telling us that the police officer is above the law and is therefore untouchable.
The Inspector General of Police should mandate the Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police to ensure the immediate arrest and prosecution of the policemen involved in the reckless driving against traffic which led to the permanent incapacitation of the victim who was on his lawful duty to cater for the daily needs of his family. If the perpetrators of this dastardly act are made to face the full wrath of the law, it will not only serve as deterrent to others but also further prove the fact that no one is above the law, not even a police officer.

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