UNIBEN student, pastor detained after church member’s death …I won’t talk to PUNCH– Edo PPRO
Some students of the University of Benin , Edo State , have taken to the social media to protest against the detention of a 300 – level Pharmacy student of the institution , Esegine Rickson .
Rickson is being detained at the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department along with a pastor , a bus driver, and two other persons because of the death of a church member .
The UNIBEN students accused the police of unlawfully detaining their fellow student and others without any proof to show that the suspects were complicit in the death .
They added that the detention had prevented Rickson from sitting for the ongoing exams in the school .
PUNCH Metro learnt that the detainees and the unidentified church member had attended a retreat at a parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God on Sapele Road , Benin City.
As they were returning from the service on a bus last Sunday, they reportedly encountered a truck on top speed .
It was gathered that the bus driver zigzagged to avert a collision with the truck.
In the ensuing confusion , a phone was said to have fallen from the unnamed church member , who was also said to have attended the retreat .
“Uche picked up the mobile phone , and tried to return it to the presumed owner, a fellow church member and passenger in the vehicle. He , however , noticed bloodstains on the phone .
“He realised that the passenger was bleeding from the mouth and head and immediately informed the driver. The bleeding passenger was rushed to the Central Hospital , Benin City, as it was the closest . But they were immediately redirected to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital without being attended to.
“At the UBTH , the injured passenger was immediately admitted and placed on oxygen as he had already gone into a critical stage . However , all efforts to save him proved abortive ; he eventually died . All the while , his parents had been in the UBTH to witness efforts to revive their son ,” one of the students , Ezekiel Efeobhokhan , wrote on Facebook .
Efeobhokhan stated that the family of the deceased reported the death at the BDPA Police Station the following day and the police invited Rickson , the bus driver , the pastor , a church elder and a church member to the station .
“But they were all unjustly detained without any warrant of arrest or evidence of murder . Uche ( Rickson ) has been there since Monday July 3 , 2017 . He has been ‘imprisoned ’ without any evidence of murder or warrant of arrest . Bail applications have been refused. No autopsy or anything has been carried out . This is unjust and inhuman. Uche is a student and his exams began July 10 , 2017 ,” he added .
The students had initiated a# FreeUche campaign following the failure of the police to come out with the autopsy report .
The Dean of Students ’ Affairs , UNIBEN , Prof . Benson Osadolor , said the school authorities had weighed in on the matter to secure the release of Rickson on bail .
He said , “The school has intervened in the incident , but unfortunately , it was an incident that happened outside the campus . The police are handling the case as a murder case and the Chief Security Officer of the university and other officials have become involved .
“Everybody is trying to work within the limit of the law . More importantly for us is that the exams had commenced and we thought by now the student would have been released . But the police said they were waiting for the autopsy report . Whether it is out now, I am not sure . They said the autopsy report would determine the next step to take.”
Osadolor stated that the school had also sent its lawyer to the police for bail , but the police refused , adding that he had yet to get the full detail of the incident .
“I asked the students who came to complain how it happened , they had no idea. The only person that can give accurate information is our student who was in that vehicle or those with him , including the driver and the pastor ,” he added .
When asked about the outcome of the autopsy, the Edo State Police Public Relations Officer, Moses Nkombe, declined comments , saying he would never speak to The PUNCH .
He said , “I don’t have anything to talk with PUNCH Newspaper please . As long as I remain the PRO of the Edo State Police Command , I will not talk to PUNCH .”
He cut off when our correspondent demanded reason for his stance .
When our correspondent called him back on Saturday, he said he was driving and promised to call back. He , however , did not.
Another call was put across to his line on Sunday, but he cut off the call immediately our correspondent introduced himself .