Evangelist Victoria Agori, a 49-year-old Nigerian Evangelist has talked about how her son was killed.
Agori tells DENNIS NAKU about her ordeal in the hands of men of the Inspector-General of Police Monitoring Unit, who in 2019 stormed her residence on Nkpolu, East-West Road, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, accused her and her children of armed robbery and kidnapping and eventually shot her son dead
What do you do and how old are you?
I am Evangelist Victoria Agori from Bayelsa State. I am an evangelist and a businesswoman. I am 49 years old.
You submitted a petition against the police before the #EndSARS panel. What is it about?
On May 11, 2019, there was a minor quarrel in the house concerning some fish I bought from Bayelsa. So, my daughter, Felicia Agori, who is going out with one of the men of the Inspector-General of Police Monitoring Unit by the name Victor Nelson, invited her boyfriend to beat her brother, who is my seventh son. The policemen came on that very day, beat up my son and also beat me and my other children with wood. They broke my louvres and destroyed many things. They also collected money from me. They even opened my legs and put their guns in my private parts.
What did the men of the IGP Monitoring Unit tell you when they got to your house?
They said my son, my other children, my husband and I were armed robbers and kidnappers. They said we would not go free, threatening that they would kill us. I was even pleading with them to let me dress up, but they refused, calling me a kidnapper. They said they would treat us like kidnappers. I told them that we were neither kidnappers nor armed robbers and that they should investigate properly. But they were shooting all over my house and a bullet pierced the leg of my first son, Samuel Agori, who was a student of the University of Benin studying Banking and Finance. We spent so much money to treat him.
They took us to their station in Aluu (Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State), alongside my son’s girlfriend, Silva Ogbonna, who was pregnant and staying with us. At the station, they took the T-shirt of my son’s girlfriend and used it to blindfold my son and my last child. They handled us like pieces of trash and their leader gave an order that they should kill my two sons. I shouted. When they heard my voice they left my last boy. After blindfolding my son, they shot him in my presence at the police station and called the people kept in their cell to clean up my son’s blood. I fainted immediately. They even searched his pocket and took the money he had on him while they were taking us to the station. As they were taking us to the station, they were inserting their gun in my private parts before they later shot my son dead.
On what part of the body was your son shot?
I don’t know; I only saw when they tied him. I just heard a gunshot and when I saw that he was the one with blood all over, I fainted. They said they poured sachet water on me to revive me. They threw me inside the cell and also brought my last son and my late son’s girlfriend into the cell. When my husband came with my lawyer the following Monday I told him that they had killed my son.
How old was he and what was he doing?
His name is Daniel Agori, 21 years old. After he finished secondary school, he was a hairstylist and a footballer. We were even preparing to send him abroad because some of his friends had travelled out through their coach in Rivers State. The last one is David Agori, 16 years old.
Have you seen your son’s body since 2019 that he was killed?
I have not seen his body till today. They refused to release it to me.
Have you asked to see his copse or that it should be released to you?
Yes, I have been demanding his body for burial. The policemen have been calling me with unknown numbers. On Tuesday, January 5, they called my lawyer and told him that if they were dismissed because of me, what would I gain? They said I should accept a settlement, promising that they would give me money. They said my son’s body is kept somewhere and that they would give me his copse to bury.
When did they approach you for setlement?
It was when this #EndSARS panel was set up that they started calling, otherwise they had been threatening me.
Is it true that this case is before the National Human Rights Commission in Abuja?
Yes, I wrote a petition through my lawyer to the National Human Rights Commission. When the National Human Rights Commission saw the petition they took it to the IG. The IG then said he was not aware of the matter because it was a different IG that was in office when the incident happened. So, the IG now, Mohammed Adamu, said if it is true they should go and arrest the officers.
Were they arrested?
No, they have not been arrested.
Is the National Human Rights Commission following up on the case?
The commission with one Senior Advocate of Nigeria took the matter to the #EndSARS panel in Abuja.
Have you been invited by the #EndSARS panel in Abuja?
Yes, I went there on December 3, 2020. but these people (the police) did not come. It is their lawyer that came. The case was adjourned till this month (January 26).
Where is your daughter who invited policemen now?
She has been on the run since then. But she called once and the policeman called Victor Nelson, who is her boyfriend, said she was with him. Nelson even called my husband and was threatening him that if he doesn’t receive the girl back, he would come back and kill us.
Is your daughter remorseful for her actions?
She sent text messages that she didn’t ask the policemen to kill anybody, that she just said my son and his pregnant girlfriend were arrogant to her and that they should just flog them a bit so that they would respect her. She said she and the boyfriend (policeman) were having issues and were no longer dating. The text messages are still on my phone and I presented them to the National Human Rights Commission and showed my lawyers too.
What do you really want in terms of justice?
First, they should release my son’s corpse to me. I gave birth to him and by tradition even though I am a pastor I should bury him properly because God did not give him to me for him to go like that. They should give me his body to bury. Two, all the policemen that came to my house, molested me, shot, destroyed my property, stripped me naked, put gun in my private parts, and killed my son should be arrested and prosecuted. They should be dismissed and tried for their actions. Three, my son was supposed to have travelled abroad by now because he is my glory by God’s grace. But they have shortened my glory. They have destroyed my house, all the louvres, ceiling and doors and other property; while they took some of my belongings with them. They even took my son’s shoes and fez caps after killing him. So, they should compensate me with N1bn.
Are you also calling for the arrest and prosecution of your daughter that invited the policemen?
I don’t know. It is left for the judge because the policemen are not fools. If she called them to come and kill, they know what the constitution says. They are uniform men and their duty is to protect lives and property, but they didn’t investigate. They just came, beat me and my children, arrested us, molested me, took all of us to the station and shot my son dead in my presence. Whatever the girl told them, they ought to have done their investigation. Even after that incident, the Police Public Relations Officer in Rivers State, Nnamdi Omoni, went on air and said nobody has the right to take another person’s life.
Even after everything they did, they have been threatening to kill me if I don’t drop the case. They even set a trap for me when they called me sometime ago that my daughter was dead and that her body was at the Elekahia Police Station. I asked what killed her but the policeman who called could not explain. So, I sent my in-law there but the police in Elekahia said there was nothing like that in their station. They were always calling me with hidden numbers. I don’t know what they wanted to do. But I know with God they will not succeed.