Geoffrey Anayanwu, Awka
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has urged the Inspector-General of Police and the Police Service Commission (PSC) to urgently investigate what it called the rogue behaviour by the Police Area Command, Enugu and bring all personnel involved to book.
The NBA’s demand, contained in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kunle Edun, followed the alleged invasion of the office of Women Aid Collective (WACOL) in Enugu, which resulted in an attack and molestation of the staff by men of the Area Command.
The statement titled ‘NBA condemns Enugu Police Command for acting lawlessly and brutalizing innocent Nigerians; Demands for the arrest of the rogues in police uniforms’, decried the action of the Police and demanded justice for its members.
The statement reads in part:
“Information available to the Nigerian Bar Association has confirmed that the officers of the Area Command, Enugu in Enugu State, that are supposed to be protecting citizens, again, took laws into their hands when they invaded, attacked and molested staff of WACOL (Women Aid Collective) at the NGO’s office in Enugu.
“WACOL, as a responsible corporate citizen and in line with its mandate, had duly reported the rape of a lady and furnished the full names of the suspects to the officers of the Area Command. The Police in an exhibition of impunity, shame and lawlessness, turned against the victim and officials of WACOL.
“We hereby call upon the Inspector General of Police and the Police Service Commission to investigate this rogue behaviour by the Police and bring all those involved to book.”
WACOL boss Prof Joy Ngozi Ezeilo had earlier in a statement narrated how a 21-year-old lady made a distress call to the organisation’s office in Enugu on Monday, January 27 to report that she was raped that evening by one Mr Uchenna James Emenike, a 22-year-old man at Corridor Layout Maryland Enugu.
She said, “Our legal team considered her report and thought it wise that rape was such a serious criminal matter that should require Police intervention and investigation. To that effect, one of the lawyers in our office, Ibangah Goodness Esq. took the victim to Area Command Enugu, Enugu State, with a petition informing the Police of the development and requested that the matter be investigated. She handed the victim over to them and was also present when they obtained a statement from her. At that point, it was reasonably expected that the Police had formally taken over the investigation of this matter from us.
“The Police later called Ibangah Goodness Esq. requesting that she provides the victim to them as the parents of the suspect had plans of settling the issue with the victim and her family. She told them that she had handed over the matter to them and therefore they should source the victim by themselves with the contact details she provided in her statement with them. Rather, the Area commander and some other officers at the station kept calling Ibangah Goodness, Esq, and [tried] to intimidate her and coerce her to provide the victim for settlement with the boy’s parent.
“To our utmost dismay, yesterday, 30th January 2020 four police officers from Area Command Enugu, Enugu, stormed our office and still requested that our office should provide the victim for them.
“…These officers failed to listen but instead began entering all the rooms in the office building and when they saw Ibangah Goodness Esq. who happened to be in a meeting. They mercilessly beat up Ibangah Goodness Esq. to a state of near unconsciousness. They extended the beating to Miss Nneka Okwor, another member of our staff when she made to plead with them to stop beating Goodness. These police Officers took the phone of Ibangah Goodness Esq. and confiscated the phone of anyone who dared to take pictures, record or video their hideous acts. They also destroyed some of WACOL’s office doors in the process.”
Prof Ezeilo also said that Ibangah was dragged to the Area Command office where she allegedly fainted and almost passed out but for the intervention of another lawyer who met her abandoned by the police to die. The lawyer supposedly took her to the emergency unit of the National Orthopaedic Hospital, where she was revived with oxygen.
She said that two police officers that accompanied him in his car to the hospital ran away when they thought Ibangah had died.
The state Police Command is yet to react to the incident.