BreakingNews 22/12/13 - How Nigeria Police Force Run Riot On Innocent Nigerians

[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] The Return Of Police Siege In Anambra State: How Personnel Of The Nigeria Police Force Run Riot On Innocent Citizens - (An Open Letter To IGP Mohammed Abubakar, Onitsha Nigeria, 21st of December, 2013)-It is no longer the police teaming up with the law abiding members of the public to fight crimes and their committers, rather, it is now the police teaming up with criminals to fight and punish the law abiding members of the public for being law abiding and avoid being in conflict with the criminal law. This ugly scenario has risen to an apogee in Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka zones of the State, with Onitsha zone being the hardest hit. In Onitsha zone, for instance, it is now a crime to be law abiding and saintly to be criminal.
 
 
In its 2013 World Human Rights’ Day report, issued in Onitsha on 8th of December, 2013, the Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization named Okpoko Police Station in Ogbaru LGA of Anambra State as “the most corrupt policemen (station) in Anambra State”. The roguish police station is headed by SUPOL Emeka Ugwu. The “most money conscious officer” labeling went to SUPOL Tony Onyakhire, the unit commander of the Okpoko Unit’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The “officer with a compromised mindset” went to SUPOL Friday Onoja, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Awada Police Station in Idemmili North LGA of Anambra State. On the positive side, the Anambra CLO gave CSP Shehu Meikudi, the DPO of Fegge Police Station in Onitsha South LGA of Anambra State “a role model and a disciplinarian” award.
 
 
In addition to the foregoing, the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law agrees with the Anambra CLO that Okpoko Police Station is the doyen of corruption in the present Anambra State Police Command. It is also correct to say that its two pillars of corruption are predicated on roadblock and police station extortion and bail fees. Its main victims are traders conveying their wares from one
place to another. Also, among all the units of the Special Anti Robbery Squad of the Anambra State Police Command, the Okpoko Unit is the most degrading, corrupt and commercialized, followed by the Onitsha Central Police Station’s Unit. The Awkuzu SARS Headquarters remains unrivalled in terms of homicidal atrocities. In other words, it remains the “Anambra Killing Field”, surpassing threefold the records of the Anambra State Criminal Investigations Department. The Awkuzu SARS also has the “most expensive police bail fees chart” in the entire Anambra State Police
Command.
 
 
Out of the three zones of Onitsha, Awka and Nnewi, police formations in Onitsha are the most corrupt and criminally minded; followed by Awka zone including Awkuzu SARS and Ogidi Police Station; and Nnewi zone. In the field observation and investigation carried out recently by the leadership of intersociety to ascertain the level of compliance concerning the January 2012 country-wide ban and dismantling of most of over 3,500 police roadblocks by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. M.D. Abubakar; it was found that the compliance level in Onitsha zone has fallen to 20% from its post January 2012 level of 60%. That of Nnewi zone fell to 40% from the referenced level of 70%; while that of Awka zone stood at 60% from the referenced level of 80%. This simply means that the IGP’s order is in a verge of collapsing in Onitsha zone; shaky in Nnewi zone; and under threat in Awka zone.
 
 
It is recalled that IGP Mohammed Abubakar had on 30th of January, 2012, ordered the instant dismantling of over 3,500 police roadblocks across the country owing to hardships and death of many innocent citizens arising from the criminal policy. As at that time, Southeast geopolitical zone had over 1,500 police roadblocks and constituted about 60% or N32. 2Billion of the total criminal proceeds of over N53Billion raked in through roadblock extortion in three years, between 2009 and 2011( Intersociety 2011). The dismantling was substantially sequel to the Intersociety’s twin report of December 2011 on police killings and corruption in Nigeria. The IGP later constituted and stationed a number of special police checkpoints mounted by the Federal Highway Police patrol teams, which were stationed in strategic road checkpoints with official tags and identity cards. He also
ordered for motorized patrols by the Zonal and the State Police Commands. The policy under reference was not only celebrated by many Nigerians, but it helped in a great deal in remedying the battered image of the Nigeria Police Force and endeared the present IGP to the hearts of many, if not most Nigerians particularly the road users. In spite of this noble image remedial approach by IGP Mohammed Abubakar, the directive is still observed in breach and has risen to an apogee in recent weeks especially in Anambra State. Our field checks few days ago (December) showed that the personnel of the State Police Command including general duties, SARS and anti-riot, have flooded Anambra roads again especially in Onitsha zone. Some of the areas they were sighted harassing, molesting and extorting people are Onitsha Niger Bridgehead(up and under), Niger Street, Creek Road Roundabout, Port Harcourt Road by Upper Iweka, Upper Iweka by Aba Park, Owerri Road by Obodoukwu Road, Obodoukwu Road by Ede Road, Oraifite Street and Ezeiweka Road( Awada), Upper Iweka Under Flyover and Upper Flyover, Modebe Avenue, Nsugbe/GRA Road, Owerri Road by Rojenny Stadium (joining federal highway police team), Atani Road by Odekpe Central School, all in Onitsha zone. Others are Nnewi-Okigwe Federal Road by Azia/Isekke Road junction, Nnobi/AwkaEtiti Road by Ichida town, Ekwulobia Roundabout, etc.
 
 
The foregoing illegal police roadblocks monitored, did not include those mounted by the Federal Highway Patrol teams in designated areas like Onitsha-Enugu Dual Carriage Way by Nkwelle-Ezunaka junction, Onitsha-Enugu Dual Carriage Way by Umunya, Onitsha-Enugu Dual Carriage Way by Amansea, Onitsha-Owerri Dual Carriage Way by Nnewi Old Road junction, Onitsha-Owerri Dual Carriage Way by Okija Bridge and Isekke/Orsumoghu Road junction. The criminal routines of these illegal police roadblock squads are random demand for strange vehicular papers from their operators and receipts of wares being conveyed or carried from one place to another. Even when such vehicular operators and wares’ conveyors provide all
particulars known to Nigeria’s body of laws in matters of tort and crime laws, further flimsy demands are made so as to find ways to extort them or arrest and take them to police stations, where they are brutalized and cowed to pay illegal and astronomical bail fees or “buy back their wares” or both. In some cases, the criminal police officers label vehicles driven by their owners and wares being conveyed as “stolen or contraband” all with intent to extort.
 
 
The Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), on its part, engages in mass raids and arrests usually when people are retiring to their residences from works or businesses. Such criminal activities are also carried out in the evening time and in the streets during relaxing and retiring hours and early morning when people are rushing to their places of work. The victims are passersby, private and commercial motorcycle and motor vehicle operators and their passengers and wares. At times, the SARS operatives demand for strange papers and particulars from their victims and at the
other times, they arrest and brutalize their victims indiscriminately. Sometimes, victims of SARS are set or framed up and labeled “receivers of stolen goods or items looted from house breaking or burglary”. Those arrested are usually bruised before taking to Okpoko Police Station, where they are subjected to further torture and other inhuman or degrading treatments, after which they are held captive with a threat to transfer them to Awkuzu SARS Headquarters and label them “armed robbers” with possibility of being killed summarily without diligent criminal
procession including fair trial. Usually, to avoid being so labeled and executed, victims of SARS mass raids and arrests pay huge unlawful bail fees demanded of them by their captors (SARS). Though the criminal activities complained of are carried out by different SARS Units across Anambra State, but the Okpoko Unit is the worst perpetrator, followed by the Onitsha CPS Unit, then Awka CPS Unit, Nnewi CPS Unit, Ekwulobia and Ihiala
 
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