Eight suspects identified; panchayat, Nigerian diplomat demand action

The Goa police on Tuesday confirmed they had identified eight suspects, including four from Chapora village near Anjuna, in the murder of Nigerian national Obodo Uzoma Simon, who was stabbed to death at Parra village in north coastal Goa last Wednesday night.

Police officials say it was committed by some locals in a narcotics-related turf war between rival gangs operating in north coastal Goa and that they are confident of nabbing all the culprits soon.

The body was found abandoned on a street in the village on Thursday morning, sparking off protests by a few Nigerians at Parra. Later, nearly 100 Nigerians blocked a highway at Porvorim in north Goa for a few hours, leading to the arrest of 53 for disrupting traffic and assaulting police. Two Nigerian were seriously injured in the ruckus.

A senior police official told The Hindu that one of the suspects had a case against him for attacking Nigerians two years ago. The police said he had managed to obtain an affidavit to force the complainant to withdraw the case. The same accused later approached the State Police Complaint Authority (SPCA) against the Sub-Inspector investigating the case saying he was unnecessarily being harassed by police. The case is under trial at SPCA.

In a related development on Tuesday, the police registered a series of FIRs in the murder case, including on the original police complaint regarding the attack.

The move comes in the wake of a gram sabha held by the Parra panchayat on Tuesday demanding police action in the cases and also the visit of Jacob Nwadibia, Administration Attache at the Nigerian High Commission in Delhi, to Goa on Monday during which he met Director General of Police Kishan Kumar and is said to have demanded that those involved in the murder be arrested immediately and compensation to the family of the victim and also to those assaulted by a mob at Porvorim on Thursday. He urged the police to allow Nigerians to engage in legitimate businesses and rent places for stay in the State. He also sought the release of the 53 Nigerians remanded in judicial custody for the protest on NH17.

Speaking to presspersons later, Mr. Jacob denied that Nigerians were involved in drug trade in Goa. On Tuesday, Mr. Kumar declined to comment about the meeting and said the police would respond appropriately to all issues raised.

Earlier on Monday, Mr. Jacob had a closed-door meeting with Nigerians at a hotel in Calangute in north coastal Goa to warn them against getting involved in illegal activities and also to familiarise them with the law of the land.