We’ll sue Bayelsa policeman for killing our son –Brother of undergrad shot dead by a trigger-happy cop

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Anderson Nikade is the elder brother of Tariela, a 300-level engineering student of the Niger Delta University shot dead by a policeman in Bayelsa last week. He shares the grief of his family with SAMUEL NKEMAKOLEM

Tell us more about your relationship with Anderson Nikade, who was shot dead by a policeman?

I am the first born in a family of four children – three males and one female. I am a journalist with the Bayelsa State-owned Niger Delta Television. We hail from Agbere town in the Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

How would you describe your late brother?

The deceased, Tariela Nikade, was our last born. He was 20 years old. He was a quiet, respectful and focused young man with great potential.

What happened on the day he was killed?

As a result of the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Tariela returned home to Tenacious Road, Edepie, Yenagoa, where he resided with our mother. Our father passed on five years ago. On that Friday, November 23, 2018, Tariela was at a barber’s shop close to our house where he was undergoing training on how to cut hair.

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At about 7pm, four armed policemen arrived in the area and took over the front of the salon in a car without a number plate to conduct their usual raids which have become the hallmark of Akenfa Divisional Police Station.

According to one of the eyewitnesses, one of the policemen, now identified as Sergeant Timadi Emmanuel, ordered everyone to raise their hands including my brother and he complied. The other people in the shop were pleading with the officer to show mercy, but the trigger-happy policeman opened fire on him at a close range. He shot him in the chest with what is suspected to be an AK 47 rifle. Few seconds later, Emmanuel walked up to the fatally-wounded victim and asked him thrice, “Where did the bullet touch you?”

What did he later do?

The policeman saw the poor boy in a pool of his blood and immediately attempted to sneak away from the scene when one of the witnesses asked him to pick up the injured boy. But he refused to pick him up and instead ordered the man, who witnessed the incident, to shut up. He threatened to shoot him or anyone there if they raised the alarm.

Sergeant Emmanuel thereafter took to his heels. He, alongside three other policemen, sped off in the car they drove to the scene. They later dropped off one other young man whom they had earlier arrested in a grand plot to conceal their identities, before returning to their police station.

But the residents of the area, angered by the shooting of Tariela, mobilised and struggled to secure a tricycle to take the victim to Gloryland Hospital, Yenagoa. It was one of them that contacted my mother (Mrs Erapade Nikade) and me.

He was later moved from Gloryland Hospital to Family Care Hospital, where he later died at about 9.30pm on Friday, November 23, having sustained serious damage to his lungs, ribs and other vital organs.

How is the family taking the tragedy?

The entire family is devastated and my aging mother has yet to get over the shock. She is totally devastated. The deceased was her last born and resembled our father. My mother was fond of him.  The death of our brother cannot be quantified in monetary terms. Not even $100m can compensate for his death.

Did he or any family member have premonition about his death?

No signs at all; no premonition before this incident happened.

What does the family intend to do now? 

The family wants justice. The officers involved must be brought to book as stipulated by the extant laws of the land.

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What was his life’s dream?

He wanted to be an engineer like his father who worked with the Federal Ministry of Works, Lagos. It was one of his life’s desires.  He was the carbon copy of our late father, Benson Nikade. Though he was the youngest in the family, we used to call him ‘Brother Benson’.  He was very industrious and also developing a musical career.

The deceased’s mother (third from left) with sympathisers

Was he a member of any musical group?

He was not a member of any musical group but an active member of the Anglican Church.

Has the family received any message from the police or the state government?

The state government, through the Secretary to the State Government, the Attorney General, commissioners, Special Assistants on Public Affairs and Media Relations, has all extended its condolences. However, the police have not deemed it fit to pay a condolence visit to the family.

Did he tell you why he wanted to learn how to cut hair? 

Well, because of the ongoing ASUU strike, Tariela decided to learn how to cut hair to acquire vocational skill and to kill boredom. The loss of that young man is a monumental loss to me, the Nikade Family, Agbere community and the Niger Delta University.

What did his death tell you about the Nigeria Police Force?

This is another grim reminder of the urgent need to reorganise the Nigeria Police Force in order to forestall further extra-judicial killing which is fast becoming a recurring decimal in Bayelsa in the wake of growing security concerns amid the recent disbandment of the state security outfit, Operation Doo Akpo.

Though the spokesman for the Bayelsa State Police Command, Asinim Butswat, had, in a statement, said Sergeant Timadi Emmanuel had been detained, awaiting disciplinary action by the police authorities, the family will institute legal action against the officer who committed the dastardly act.

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