As the Rivers state Judicial Panel of Inquiry into Police Brutality continues its sitting, a 50-year old man, Norde Sylvester, on Wednesday, November 25, shared the heartbreaking story of how his three-day-old baby died from a gunshot wound sustained by a stray bullet fired by an officer of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad in the state.
Sylvester, a civil servant with the Universal Basic Education, told the panel that the incident happened at his residence in Rumuohalu, near Port Harcourt on October 15, 2015.
“On that day, I was with my family in our house at no. 9 Hon Close, off Omodudoro, few metres away from the SARS office on Nelson Mandela Road.
There had been shootings by SARS men which continued till we went in to sleep. We woke up in the morning to discover that one of their bullets penetrated the roof and killed my only daughter, a three-day-old baby.
I picked up the bullet and went to the SARS office. When I got there, I told them that they have killed my daughter.
Two of the SARS men ordered me to go back, threatening that if I did not leave, I would join my daughter,” he said.
However, the counsel for the Commissioner of Police, Mercy Nweke, during cross-examination, dismissed Sylvester’s claim, arguing that the bullet he presented hadn’t been used and so couldn’t have killed anybody. She also asked why he didn’t report the case at the police station.
“This is ammunition (referring to the bullet). It has not been used. Something that has not been used cannot kill anybody.”
But the counsel for the commission, S. O. Inko-Tariah, objected, saying Nweke was not an expert and could not determine if the bullet was used or not.
The commission’s chairman, Justice Chukwunenye Uriri (retd.) said the evidence provided by the petitioner was of public interest and admitted it as an exhibit, asking Sylvester what he wanted.
“All I need is justice for my baby that they killed and also my house that was damaged” Sylvester replied