A Bayelsa State High Court sitting in Yenagoa, the state capital, presided over by Justice M.A. Ayemieye has sentenced a Police Sergeant, Timade Emmanuel, to death by hanging.
The court found Emmanuel guilty for the extrajudicial killing of 19-year-old Tarila Nikade, a student of the Niger Delta University (NDU) in Amassoma.
The incident happened along Tenacious Road, Yenagoa in 2019.
In her judgment, Justice Ayemieye, said Emmanuel, who has since been dismissed by the police force, was found guilty of the killing and therefore deserves to be punished according to the law.
The judge, after hearing from three witnesses brought by the Human Rights Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Sagbama branch, on the two counts of conspiracy to commit murder and murder preferred against Emmanuel, ruled that the evidence showed that the deceased was murdered in cold blood.
Authorities of the Bayelsa State Police Command, had before the final ruling of the court, conducted an orderly room trial for the indicted Sergeant Emmanuel and he was subsequently dismissed from service over the killing.
A member of the NBA National Public Interest Litigation Committee, Wisdom Meni Adike, also known as Junior Gani, said that the prosecution of the killer policeman lasted for two years due to the alleged initial attempts by some senior police officers to frustrate his prosecution and conviction.
He said in 2019, the HRC of NBA Sagbama, through then Chairman, Dise Ogbise and the incumbent Chairman, George Aderigha, immediately went to the scene of the crime to get necessary evidence.
He said the NBA Sagbama branch conducted a high-level investigation and pursued the case to its logical conclusion because of the loud outcry that greeted the killing from the general public.
He said: “The investigation of the murder of Tarila Nikade was filled with a lot of issues, including that of conflict of interest where the NBA Sagbama, had to fight it out with the Nigeria Police Force.
The officer, Timade Emmanuel, was immediately tried in Orderly Room by the police, later found guilty and dismissed. We later dragged him to court for murder.
“At a point, NBA’s case file was almost hijacked but we insisted on getting copies of all the case files with the police. We also took all the witnesses into protective custody over alleged threats by friends of the convicted policeman. They had no choice but to cooperate with us.
“Autopsy and witnesses’ account showed he was shot in the back. The deceased student was a 4.42 CGPA student, who was learning barbing during holidays before he was shot dead in cold blood”.
Adike described the verdict of the state High Court as a victory to all who worked in truth for the true attainment of justice.
He added: “We are satisfied with the judgment. We commend the state’s Ministry of Justice and its counsel who took charge of the matter.
“The Legal Adviser of NBA, Sagbama (now the Chairman of NBA Sagbama branch), George Ebinyo Aderigha and the the Nikade family stood strong in the midst of tribulations.
“Finally, it is a duty we owe ourselves to see that justice in our society, as well as checks and balances, are maintained”.