NDLEA official punched me for protesting my son’s killing – Father

Fidelis Omorhiakogbe, father of a two-year-old boy, who was killed by a stray bullet from the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency operatives, tells MATTHEW OCHEI about how efforts to save his child failed

How are you related to the victims?

I’m the father of the boy killed by operatives of the NDLEA in Okpanam, Osimili North Local Government area of Delta State. My name is Fidelis Omorhiakogbe.

What happened on the day your son was killed?

On Thursday, July 13, 2023, I went to my kids’ school to pick them up and I decided to drop them at my wife’s shop, the plaza close to Sweet Spirit Hotel. I dropped them there so that I could go and meet up with my other activities before taking them home after closing for the day.

After about five minutes drive from the shop and heading home to pick up something, getting into my compound, my wife called me to come to the shop immediately. She said nobody understood whether it was a bullet or something else that hit our son, but there was no gunshot within that environment.

What came to your mind after your wife called you?

I was confused because it was not up to 10 minutes that I dropped them at the shop. However, I rushed back to the shop, but before getting to the place, my wife called me again and told me that they were going to the Federal Medical Centre (in Asaba) and that I should meet them there. She then said that it was like a gunshot that hit our son because she saw my boy’s intestines coming out and even the glass that the bullet penetrated, affected my second son’s eye. She held two of them and started shouting for help. That was when she then called me to meet them at Federal Medical Centre.

 As I was going, I said, ‘No, let me stop at the shop and know what was happening. When I got to the shop, I saw one Hilux van, fully loaded with armed operatives of the NDLEA. Again, I saw a Toyota Sienna car; they (the occupants) were turning so that they could go back to Asaba. I saw another vehicle; a Honda car. The vehicles were all occupied by NDLEA operatives. So, they then parked their vehicles close to my wife’s shop.

What happened afterwards?

 I asked the people around the place about what happened and they said NDLEA operatives were chasing those guys selling drugs and the guys ran away. The people said they could not ascertain how the bullet got into my wife’s shop and hit one of my children. So, I tried to ask some of my neighbours to confirm my wife’s statement that a bullet hit my boy and his intestines were coming out. They said it was the gun that was shot that hit my son.

What did you do when you were told that NDLEA operatives’ bullet hit your son?

I had to summon the courage to talk to them because they had already parked and tried to arrest some of the suspected drug dealers while others ran away. The place was rowdy during the incident. First of all, I was trying to take pictures and some videos as evidence. One of the operatives came out and asked why I was videoing them, he asked if I was mad.

He cocked his gun and I told him that the gun they shot had killed my son and that he could go ahead and kill me because I was not ready to go anywhere. Then the NDLEA official punched me and I immediately held his hand. They, however, entered their cars and zoomed off the moment they learnt that their gunshot had killed my child.

What did you do when the NDLEA officials zoomed off?

I entered my car immediately and followed them till we got to Issele-Azagba. They stopped as they noticed that I was following them. They came to me after I pulled over at one filling station. I told them that the gun they shot had killed my son and they told me that they were aware and that they had called their commander.

What was their next action?

They said I should follow them to their head office in Ogwashi-Uku, also in Delta State. Getting to that place, their commander brought them out and talked to them before asking me in. The commander started pleading with me and asked about the condition of the child. I told him that I had not seen him because I decided to stay around the shop to know what happened. That was when I discovered that it could be his armed men that were responsible for the shooting and killing of my child.

But the commander said that what the officers told him was that they were chasing someone or that they wanted to cross the road when a motorcycle or a vehicle hit one of the NDLEA officials, and that the impact affected the trigger of his (NDLEA official) gun. He said that I should not worry and that I should go and see my children first. According to the commander, that is the most important thing for everyone to do. He promised to send one or two persons to the Federal Medical Centre where my children were taken to.

Did you listen to the NDLEA commander’s instructions?

Immediately, I left for Asaba to see my children at FMC and they (the medical centre) told me that they were in the theatre and that they were looking for blood to treat them. After one and a half hours, the people that the commander sent came to the hospital to see the situation and I told them that they were trying to look for blood for him to survive.

Has the NDLEA at the national level intervened in the matter?

The NDLEA at the national level visited and sympathised with us. They also assured us that a proper investigation would be carried out on the matter.

Does it mean that you could not afford to buy blood for your child’s treatment?

No, we could, but the blood they said we should donate is a fresh one and not the one they have in their blood bank. So, we tried to look for some of my friends that came around, I could not donate because I am ‘B’ positive.

So, we got one of my wife’s workers that is ‘O’ positive. That one then donated the blood. We were running around and they were carrying out x-ray and all of that. From about 7pm to 1am, he then gave up and they called me. When I got there, they said the child could not make it because the intestines and the kidney were affected.

How old was your late son?

Ivan Omorhiakogbe was two years and six months.

What class was he in?   

He was supposed to graduate from KG1 on Sunday, July 16, 2023. They (his school) had given graduation gown to him.

Two of your sons were victims of the stray bullet. What is the condition of the second child?

The second child, Erhumossele, was injured in his eye. The glass the gun penetrated splashed and hit his eye and body but they said he had a cut. They took him to the theatre on Friday at about 2am and they came out at 6am on Saturday morning trying to ensure that the cut and wounds were treated. We blessed God, he’s fine.

How old is your second son?

He is a year and eight months old.

How will you describe your children?

They are very wonderful and brilliant

How many children do you have?

We have three children, two boys and one girl

Did you report the incident to the police?

Yes, I have gone to the police station and made my statement.

Has the NDLEA visited your family?

No, but they came to the hospital after I trailed them to their headquarters in Ogwashi-Uku.

What is your next line of action?

Well, for now, we want justice for our children. We need to take it up; it cannot just go like this. We will go to court.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *