In October 2018, Anita Akapson, a niece to a former Finance Minister, Senator Nenadi Usman, was hit by a bullet during a crossfire between a police team on a rescue mission and daredevil armed robbers. Despite efforts by the police team to save Akapson, she gave up the ghost at the Gwarimpa General Hospital, Abuja.

Since her death, Wagozie Igochukwu Godwin, the leader of the police team, which responded to the distress call had murdered sleep. Godwin,  a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), who hails from Alimini in Ogbodo-Isiokpo, Rivers State, has already been convicted and sentenced to 16 years in prison. He is currently serving his jail term at Abuja prisons while his lawyers are making efforts to appeal the judgement.

 

Godwin, an Ikwere man like the Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi and Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike, though a police officer, believes that justice has not been served in his case. The traumatised police officer querries the judgement, the processes that led to his conviction saying he is a victim of oppression.

Speaking from prison, Godwin, a husband and father of two daughters, said he was compelled to tell his story because Senator Usman recently appeared before the #EndSARS panel sitting in Abuja and demanded N5bn compensation from the police for the killing of her niece by a police officer.

“This case has nothing to do with #EndSARS protest and I did not kill anybody”, he says. “A forensic investigation revealed that the bullet that hit the lady came from a beretta pistol and none of my men signed a beretta pistol on that day.

“Besides, all the armed robbery suspects we arrested with gun and other exhibits were released two days after the incident. Why were they released in such a high profile case while I was the only one arrested and being dragged up and down?

“This incident happened about 10pm and the lady, who was hit by the bullet came from the direction of the armed robbers. We were not allowed to interrogate the arrested armed robbers to determine their relationship with the lady. They just released them”.

 

Narrating the incident of that fateful day, he said: “It was on the 13th of October 2018 at about 9:45pm, there was a distress call from a hotel in Gwarimpa, Neta Apartment, Katanfi Extension.

The manager of the hotel called that there was a robbery incident going on there. I had to send my boys to start going to the scene of crime.

They could not get to the place on time, because of the condition of the police vehicle they were using.

“People there started calling at a point, there was also a call from control unit of the FCT command.

The people called again, but before I could pick the call my DPO, CSP Ngozi Ubani Anosike, intercepted the call. Since she intercepted it I could not intercept the call again.

 

“I proceeded to the scene while she (DPO) also left at the same time for the same scene of crime. On getting there God helping us, we arrested two suspects and we recovered two cars, a Mercedes and Corola. We recovered one tracking device machine and we recovered gun.

“While we were taking the suspects and exhibits to the office for further interrogation we discovered that the armed robbers were six in number.

The DPO told me to wait that she had called the Commander SARS for back up to enable us go after the hoodlums and recover other vehicles.

“On that process they started driving out of the place. I then told the driver that was with me to turn round so we could go to the entrance of the place where they are taking the cars out. As soon as we started going, these boys opened fire on us. We had to park our car and run into the bush then into an uncompleted building there. The place is a lonely area and nobody was outside.

“There was a serious gun battle between the armed robbers and the police. All of a sudden, a tinted Honda car drove in and hit a car that was parked there. When the Honda hit the car, we saw a girl run out of the place where the armed robbers were shooting us from. As soon as she came out of the car she ran back to that same place.

 

“While she was running back, soon she started shouting ‘bullet has hit me, I am not with them oo. I no hold gun oo, na only them hold gun oo’.

The duty of police is to protect lives and property so what we now did was when the area became calm, I and my boys took this girl to Gwarimpa General Hospital. On getting there, we made sure that the doctor commenced first aid on her because the doctor had already said the girl lost a lot of blood.

“I left my boys with them and went to look for money for blood transfusion. Before I could come back to the hospital she was already gone. Then the DPO was there when we took her to the hospital, while we were at the hospital I called the DPO to inform her, she said I should come back to the office that she had already involved the Commissioner of Police.

“Then the Area Commander called the DPO that somebody called that there was shooting and she told the Area Commander that there was nothing like gunshot. She came to my office and told me that the CP responded that if we had two suspects and recovered exhibits, while will she say the boys did not respond?

“She said we should go to her office, immediately we got to her office, on entering her office we saw the former Minister of Finance,  Esther Nenadi Usman, and two others.

Immediately we entered, she told the woman that this is the person that killed your daughter. The woman asked me what happened I explained to her. The next thing they said was that we should surrender our rifles, we surrendered that same night, they took them from us”

Godwin said he was later asked to pay for the autopsy to determine the cause of death of the deceased.

He, however, added: “The surprising thing was that the incident happened on 13th, on 15th they released all the arrested suspects. I was the only one on detention till date.  I was to go for medical surgery because I am having a health challenge, the woman got the information and told the judge that I would run away the judge requested for my international passport and they seized it.

“When we went to the court, the court gave me bail, the complainant,  being the minister, changed the prosecutor of the case and brought her brother from Katsina to continue the matter. I personally went to the Director,  DPP to explain myself becuase the ex-minister had reported that I was hired by APC government to kill her. She was invited to EFCC to answer her fraud case.

“I tried to call people to explain myself but I was detained with instruction that nobody should be allowed to see me. To my greatest surprise, even as I am in prison here, the woman again took my name to the EndSARS panel.

“Some people have told her that this is not SARS case, but with her connection she said she must deal with me. She is aligning with my DPO to do all of this. They are working to ensure I do not come out of prison.

“They brought an independent investigator who carried out a forensic test and discovered that the gun that killed the girl is a beretta Pistol. Me and my boys, none of us handled beretta pistol. The DPO went as far as altering the movement of arm register. She collected the register and gave to them to enable her actualize her plans.

“I was diagnosed of Myasthenia gravis, that is weakness of eye muscle. I was booked for surgery in India. I collected loan from my cooperative and bank to enable me go for that surgery. I have all of my medical records. But they frustrated it. All the money entered this case. I could not go for the surgery again.

“I have served the nation for 10 years diligently.  I have not had any issue with anybody.  With the relationship I have with people in Gwarimpa, in my community policing approach, I started to build surveillance office.  I completed it also, but I could not enter it because of this case.

“I am surprised that they released suspects in a robbery case. I think there is exchange of money. A robbery case that somebody was killed they went ahead to release suspects.

“I was thinking that as we got to the office that I would be the one to interrogate the suspects and find out the relationship between the criminals and the injured lady, but at the end of the day they did not give me the opportunity. The whole thing happened in the night. In fact if you bring the suspects now I may not know them.

“They discovered that there was no evidence against me, the judge said I did not show remorse to the family of the deceased girl that was the reason the judge sentenced me.

There was a gun battle between my men and the robbers. In police, things like this we call it operational hazard, because nobody planned for it.

“The filed in some witness to come and testify against me in court which when they came, it was discovered that they were fake.

What is happening is the oppression of the poor by the rich. The woman claims she has contacts. She bosted that she will use her contact to deal with me. The woman is using the case to get sympathy. This issue has nothing to do with EndSARS”.

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