From Ben Dunno, Warri
The Committee For Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) has raised fresh alarm over the alarming increase in cases of police extortions in Delta state and called for an urgent measure in bringing the situation under control before it escalate to another #EndSARS protest.
Lamenting upsurge in cases of police extortions and brutality in parts of the state, particularly in Abraka, Eburumede, Udu, Sapele as well as Warri and environs, CDHR Ag. national President, Comrade (Dr) Kehinde Taiga, urged Delta state government to immediately lift the Covid19 curfew, as it had turned an avenue for police extortion in the state.
He recounted the ordeal of seven (7) victims arrested by policemen attached to Abraka Division, Ethiope West Council area, last Friday over late hour movement and made to cough out the sum of two hundred thousand naira (N200,000) for driving within the university community.
According to him; “The policemen in the state seems to have forgotten in a hurry that the sad experience of the last EndSARS protest which almost crippled the nation’s economy started from Ughelli in Delta and they have started again with some of the atrocities some of them were involved in that led to the protest”.
“How do one explain a situation where a Police Division operating in a very sensitive University environment like Abraka claimed they arrested suspects, mostly students for late hours movement and extorted N200,000 from them after they had beaten and locked them up in cell throughout the night”.
“Although the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) CSP Aliyu Shaba, claimed ignorant of money collected by his men from the victims but investigations revealed that he was part of it, as he signed the bail bond when they were released next day.
Also when he was confronted on it, he promised to refund but till now, nothing has been done”.
“This is not the first time we are getting negative cases of extortions and rights abuses from Abraka Division and we have made several reports to DPO and Police Commissioner, CP Ari Muhammed Ali, on these issues personally and officially but nothing has been done to correct this abuses and violations by the police”.
“Apart from Abraka, we have also noted the atrocities being perpetrated by policemen at Eburumede Division, Udu, Sapele and within Warri metropolis and its environs, and we are still appealing to the Delta state police Commissioner to call his men in these places to order before the situation goes out of control”.
“We also wished to use this medium to appeal to the judiciary, especially the magistrates in the various local government areas customary courts in the state to live up to its bidding in the administration of Criminal Justice system as we have it on good authority that the cells of some police stations, particularly Abraka are filled with innocent people who were being detained for no just cause or charged to court”.
“Presently, the Magistrates are not carrying out their constitutional duties of visiting police stations within their jurisdictions to profile inmates in police custody, noting that if they had been doing this, the situation would not have degenerated to this level, as it would have checked the growing cases of police extortions, indiscrimate arrest and detention in the society”.
“While we urged the Delta state Police Commissioner, CP Ari Muhammed to instill discipline in his men across the state as a way of enhancing professionalism among them, Comrade Taiga called for the immediate redeployment of Abraka Division DPO, CSP Aliyu Shaba, after he had been tried and made to refund the N200,000 extorted by his men from the victims.
He also appealed to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, to consider lifting the Covid19 curfew, as it had opened another extortion opportunity to policemen operating in the state.