The police have come under heavy knocks in Bayelsa State for abandoning a victim they knocked down with their patrol van to die in the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, the state capital.
Residents in Bayelsa wondered why the police could allow Mr. Shadrack Ogbonna, a father of five children and mobile phone repairer to become bedridden without making conscious efforts to treat the injuries he sustained when their patrol van knocked him down in Yenagoa.
Ogbonna, who hails from Okposi in Ebonyi State, was hit by the police van, which reportedly drove against traffic, on May 6th, 2019 while he attempted to cross the road to buy phone accessories for his customers.
The accident, which occurred close to Ekeki Motor Park, Yenagoa, was said to have rendered his family homeless and hungry as he was no longer able to pay their rent and provide food for them.
The policemen in the van were said to have rushed their victim to the emergency unit of the hospital where doctors confirmed that he suffered serious brain damage and required N5million to have a second chance in life.
Doctors further said that the accident severely fractured his skull and damaged the victim’s left leg and arm.
The victim’s wife, Mrs. Asu Ogbonna, said following her protest the state police command initially agreed offset her husband’s medical bills.
She said the command later abandoned the victim when the police authorities heard thatN5million was required to fly him abroad for brain surgery.
She said the police claimed that they were no longer responsible since the policemen that knocked him down where executing a state-sponsored assignment.
She said: “That morning, I left him in the house to Swali market where I trade. Before I left we talked about plans to raise money for our rent that was to expire in June. So I was in the market when I got a call that my husband was involved in car accident.
“When I got to the hospital I found my husband in a bad condition. I thought he was dead. I was told that he was hit by a police van driving against traffic. The police promised to take care of his medical bills but they later said they would not give us a dime because it was the state government that sent them on an errand when the incident occurred.
“Since then they abandoned me and my husband at the hospital. According to the doctors, my husband’s brain is so damaged that he needs to be flown abroad for surgery and that would cost us N5million. Where do I raise that kind of money? As I speak with you, I now sleep under a staircase in the hospital with my five children because our landlord drove us out when we could not pay rent.
“All along, it is only my brother that supported me with money to buy drugs to keep my husband alive until we are able to raise money for the surgery. As we speak, my brother has also ran out of cash. It is not easy for me and my children. Paying for the life support machine and buying his drugs daily requires lots of money.
“Who do I turn to? What do I do with my life? I have prayed fervently for God’s intervention but it appears my prayer does not get to heaven because our condition gets worse by the day.
“I don’t even have money to feed myself and my children, talk more of paying bills at the hospital. I have gone to the police several times to plead with them but they have continued to turn me down, saying I should take the matter to court.
“Where would I have money to pay lawyers, even if the only way out of my problems is to go to court? Our bill at the hospital right now is about a million naira, and we are expected to raise another N5million for surgery. Meanwhile the hospital management is on our neck to either pay or move my husband away. I am confused.”
Also the brother-in-law of the victim, Mr. Joseph Ngene said described his in-law’s condition as pathetic and called on the Inspector-General of Police, the Bayelsa State Government and the Ebonyi State Governor to intervene and save his in-law.
He said: “My sister’s husband condition is pathetic. He was going about his business when a police van driving against traffic knocked him down. If it were a vehicle owned by a private individual, I am sure the police would have done a good job to apprehend the person.
“But in this case, policemen are involved and they have refused to take responsibilities. According to the doctors, Ogbonna broke left leg, left arm and that his skull was fractured during the accident.
“When we contacted the police, they said the driver of the van, Mr. Ifeanyi Ikechukwu, was running errand for the state government when the accident occurred, and that for that reason we should rather approach the state government for support.
“Initially they were concerned because they came to the hospital once or twice to pay for drugs doctors prescribed but after that they stopped visiting. I then called the leader of the team that was in the van when it knocked Ogbonna down, one Oscer Jaja, he yelled at me saying I have no right to contact him. He said if we think they are wrong we should go to court that he is ready. We have written a petition to the Commissioner of Police, and copy of that petition is before him.
“I have made efforts to meet with him and he said the police could not help us. And because we could not buy drugs that would help keep him strong until we get money to fly him abroad for the surgery, my brother condition is getting worse by the day. To feed him, doctors have to pass food through a pipe to feed him. He has not been able to move any part his body since they brought him to the hospital.
“As it is now, it is clear that my brother would never live a normal life again, yet the police are asking us to go to court because they know that we don’t have the power and finance to challenge them on the matter. I want to plead with well-meaning Bayelsans and Nigerians to come to our aide.”
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Bayelsa State Command, Asinim Butswat, confirmed the incident but said the police were doing their bit to assist the victim.


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