By Ebriku John Friday, Abuja
The murder case of Joy Odama, a 200 Level Student of Cross River State University of Technology (CRUTECH), last week took a new twist as a Non Governmental Organisation, Basic Rights Enlightenment Foundation (BREF), raises alarm over alleged moves by the Nigerian Police to change witnesses’ statement earlier made.
This was contained in a statement signed by the National Coordinator, Augustine Okechukwu, which accused the Police of making frantic effort to forestall justice for the diseased and family by issuing threats of arrest and detention to star witnesses, who include Martha Hassan and father, Victoria Ezekiel and father, and also Elizabeth, if they failed to make fresh statement that would suit them and the accused, Alhaji Usman Adamu.
According to the statement the Police kept threatening one of the witnesses until she was made to sign a doctored statement from the Police before bail was granted late in the night on Wednesday 21st June, 2017, which the witness was not allowed to read through the doctored statement before appending signature.
The statement reads in part, “The Nigeria Police Force in her characteristic manner has covertly deployed another twist to pervert the cause of justice and a coercive deception in the mysterious death of the late Joy Odama.
“In a seeming bid to forestall the obvious truth surrounding this gruesome murder, the police high command has threatened the star witnesses; Martha Hassan and father, Victoria Ezekiel and father plus Elizabeth with arrest and subsequent detention if they fail to appear at the force headquarters, Abuja, to give a fresh statement.
“When the threats from the Investigation Police Officer (IPO), Force Monitoring Unit became unbearable and unwholesome, Victoria and her father, Mr Ezekiel had to succumb to the pressure and reported at the force headquarters where Victoria was detained for over eight hours because she refused to either alter her statement or write a fresh one.
“The police kept threatening her until she was made to sign a doctored statement from the police before bail was granted late in the night on Wednesday 21st June, 2017.
“It is noteworthy here that Victoria and her father were not even allowed to go through the statement before appending her signature. This is in all in a bid to pervert the cause of justice as it is in the tradition of the Nigeria Police Force.
“The Nigeria Police having failed in their futile attempts at the National Hospital to alter the re-conducted autopsy result is again engaging in all manner of clandestine tactics and outright manoeuvring to divert attention to kill the truth in this case.
“We are calling on the public to take firm notice of this and join their voices in ensuring the police do the right thing which it is established for.”
The statement added that they reliably gathered information that Martha Hassan and her father including Elizabeth did not yield to the police threats to report at the force headquarters on the 21st June to equally alter their statements, hence are still being hunted and threatened with similar arrests and detention.