Nigeria: Outrage As Police Officers Kill Citizens In Akwa …
The un-abetting reign of extra-judicial murder by police officers in Nigeria is a matter of undying concern by highly disturbed rights activists. In the Niger Delta area, the country’s vastly polluted oil and gas region, the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), the doyen of the human rights struggle in the country, is visibly enraged by the menace.
The CLO outrage is coming as a Police Inspector in Akwa Ibom State Command, allegedly beat a widow to death in Uyo, the state capital…The Police Commissioner in the state, Imohimi Edgal, has, however, ordered the arrest of the law enforcement officer who is identified as Bassey Peter Ikpe, following a public outcry by concerned citizens.
The Police Inspector allegedly beat up one Mrs. Deborah Nkereuwem Nkpenie, to death on Thursday, January 16, at the State Police Headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia, Uyo.
In Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, as well as the capital of Nigeria’s oil and gas, a team of blood-letting police officers, allegedly murdered an automobile mechanic. Like in Uyo, the murder drew the ire of the human rights community.
The penchant for murder by law enforcement officers appears to run counter to the Police Act which clearly outlines duties of the Nigerian Police Force. Their duties include ‘protection of life and property, apprehension of offenders, preservation of law and order and the prevention of crime’. The excessive use of force even in the performance of lawful duties is covered under the Nigerian Criminal Code pursuant to which any person authorized by law to use force as being criminally responsible for any excess use of force.
The Criminal code also considers it unlawful to kill any person unless such killing is authorized or justified at law. This is pursuant to the right to life guaranteed under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
At the moment, CLO Chairman in the South-South geo-political zone, Karl Chinedu, is calling for the scrapping of the ‘’notorious’’ Eagle Police Unit in Rivers State. The call is coming following the alleged murder of the automobile mechanic.
According to Chinedu, ‘’for sometimes now, we have continued to raise concerns about the operations and activities of the Eagle Crack Police Unit of the Rivers State Command. This unit which is also known as the Commissioner’s Squad operates out of the Mile One Police Station in Diobu. In the course of their duties, the unit employs all manners of barbaric conduct ranging from extreme torture, gross abuse of human rights, extortion, the framing of innocent citizens, tampering, and falsification of evidence and extra-judicial murder.
‘’We have written to relevant authorities ranging from the National Assembly, the Police Services Commission and the Inspector General of Police, drawing attention to the nefarious activities of this rogue unit under the command of Benson Adetuyi, a Superintendent of Police (SP). We have highlighted the travails of Hon. Okey Okirie in the hands of SP Adetuyi and his squad.
‘’Hon. Okey Okirie who has been forced to go into hiding for fear of being eliminated by SP Benson Adetuyi, who allegedly swore to personally deal with him, after he was unlawfully detained and persistently harassed and humiliated.
‘’Adetuyi blatantly ignored a valid court order restraining him from harassing or arresting Okirie pending the determination of a case in court. On Thursday, January 9, operatives of the squad on the orders of Adetuyi raided Okey Okirie’s residence in a bid to ensnare him.
‘’Other victims of the police torture and brutality are one Uche Brown Orukwo, who was arrested on August 26, 2019, and kept incommunicado. Police operatives denied arresting him, until the Police Commissioner sent officers from headquarters to the squad on September 13, 2019, and it was confirmed the suspect was in their custody. Cletus Solomon, Michael Ikeji and Opuwari Bibobra were arrested by Eagle Crack operatives in front of their house in the D/Line area of Port Harcourt and brutalized with machetes after being charged with kidnapping.
‘’In the latest incident, Adetuyi (allegedly) tortured one Chima Ikwunado, a motor mechanic, while in their custody to death. The sad and gory tales of this rogue unit are just too many, that one wonders if torture, inhuman and degrading treatment has now been legitimized.
‘’The Eagle Crack Unit represents a general descent into anti-democratic conduct and lack of regard for human safety and life. It is time this notorious unit is disbanded and its operatives made to answer for their crimes.’’
In the meantime, in Uyo, the Police Commissioner who ordered the immediate arrest of the killer Police Inspector has also instructed the Deputy Police Commissioner in-charge of the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) to carry out a thorough investigation into the matter.
Police Spokesman, Odiko Macson, a Superintendent of Police (SP) in a statement claims that the police in Akwa Ibom is a commitment to policing with great respect for human rights.
According to him, police personnel attached to the state command, Bassey Peter Ikpe (an Inspector of police) reportedly beat up Mrs. Deborah Nkereuwem Nkpenie, to death on Thursday, January 16, 2020.
An eye-witness, however, claimed that the incident occurred that Thursday morning following an invitation which allegedly premised on threats to the deceased by the policeman. For some concerned policemen, the invitation of the deceased was against the counsel of a very senior police officer, a Deputy Commissioner of Police.
A Keke(tricycle) driver, Ukpono Sunday Umoren, who claimed to see what happened said, “the policeman came approached my Keke which bore the woman. He shouted at her that she was lying about her sickness. He made efforts to drag her out. In anger, he knocked her head by the side rail of the Keke. The woman was screaming that she was not well.
“She began to suffocate and found it difficult to breathe. The policeman kept insisting that she was lying. He even told her that, if she wants to die, she should die.
“As she was screaming, the policeman tried to pull her out of the Keke, as her voice grew faint. We were begging the policeman to refrain from his hostile act towards the deceased. He even refused our taking her to hospital. It was after she breathed her last, that he eventually ordered that she should be taken to the hospital.”
Deputy Police Commissioner, Mrs. S. U. Horsefall, a lawyer, had advised against unprofessional conduct by the said Inspector, including not bringing the parties before her for an interview before arraigning them in court.
Sources alleged that the inspector, who was an Investigating Police Officer (IPO) in a matter, had personally entered the bedroom of the deceased, to dress her up and forced her to the police headquarters.
A sister of the deceased, Mfonobong Itoro Peter, said the IPO went wild with the allegation that the deceased was lying and faking the fact that she was ill. According to her, “my late sister was beaten to death by Inspector Bassey Peter Ikpe. He had threatened her repeatedly ever since this matter came up. My sister had waist pains arising from the dislocation she had while caring for the late husband. This made it difficult for her to move about freely.
“She peed and defecated in her room because of the difficulty in movement. She was highly hypertensive too. But this policeman refused to take the advice of the Deputy Commissioner of Police. I don’t know what interest he had in the matter. He had threatened her to come to the police station, so that they can appear in court on a fictitious criminal charge, against the advice of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, the previous day. He beat my sister to death. Let Justice be done.”
When it was glaring that the widow was dying, she was rushed to the Police Clinic within the precinct of the police headquarters, where the doctor confirmed her dead on arrival.
On return to the police headquarters, they were denied entry into the premises by the policemen manning the gate of the police headquarters.
One of the leaders of the human rights community in the state, Clifford Thomas, said that a strongly worded petition will be sent out to the necessary authorities, and follow up as actions will be taken to ensure that justice is gotten for the murdered victim.
Our roving correspondent in the area reports that while the deceased was suffering from high blood pressure complications, there was a property matter involving her late husband.
Thomas, a lawyer, is claiming that the Deputy Police Commissioner in-charge of State CIID had advised that interviews be held before any recommendations for arraignment in court over the issue of forgery.
‘’But the IPO was very hostile. He beat the woman and tried to force her out of the Keke, smashing the woman’s head repeatedly on the metal door frame of the Keke’’, he said.
Adding, he said the State CIID boss acted very professionally in saving the situation as she received journalists and activists who stormed the scene and took her time to politely explain what transpired.
Published at Fri, 24 Jan 2020 16:00:00 +0000