Ben Dunno, Warri
Two groups, the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Delta State branch, and Warri Urban Security Network (WUSN), have absolved the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Ekpan Division, SP Asanaenyi Ibok, of allegations of brutality levelled against him by an aggrieved citizen.
Making their stance known in two separate statements made available to reporters in Warri, the groups, who claim to have conducted their independent investigations into the case, said there was no truth in the claim by one Mercy Okoro and her family.
Delta State CDHR Secretary Israel Joe disclosed that, contrary to the allegation, the DPO was not at the scene of the incident and, therefore, was not in a position to have manhandled the suspects as has been speculated.
“I heard of the alleged human right abuse on a lady in Warri who said the DPO, Ekpan Division, SP Ibok Asaneiyi, stripped herself and her mother naked, beat and locked them up.
“As an activist, I had to contact the victims to hear their own part of the story.
“I also contacted the tenant of the victims who were illegally locked up inside the house by the victims and their family for failing to pay house rent to them.
“I also called the DPO to hear his own side of the story especially as he was alleged to have abused the lady.
“From our investigations as human rights activists in Delta State, it was so sad for such a story to be cooked up against the police while we sat down and watch.
“The lady who illegally locked up their tenant for six hours, resisted arrest, stoned the police until the police had to use maximum force to save guard the tenant and arrest the lady. She should understand the principles of tenants’ rights.
“The DPO who even was not there had become a victim of public ridicules.
“Our stand consolidates also on the stand of the NBA who also had conducted its investigations.
“Perhaps, the police officers who went to make the arrests might have acted in errors for the victims to incur bruises.
“We urge the people to disregard the accusations against the DPO who had done his best to make sure everything is subjected to legality; he should be praised.
“While we ensure police brutality comes to an end, we should appreciate those making efforts rather than condemning the actions of the police without facts.”
In its own reaction, the Chairman, Warri Urban Security Network (WUSN), Chief Abel Nwankwo, described the accusation as mere fabrications borne out of envy to ridicule and discredit the police officer who had been very exceptional in discharging its duties as the DPO in Ekpan Division.
He noted that from investigations they carried out days ago when the incident started trending on social media, they realised that the entire story of police brutality was an afterthought, as it was intended to rubbish the gentleman DPO.
“We have taken time out to go round the parties and places where the incident occurred, including the suspects’ first lawyer who abandoned them due to their plan to discredit the DPO and found out that what was playing out was a calculated attempt to tarnish the DPO’s image.
“Consequent upon this, we called on well-meaning Nigerians, especially the Delta State Police Commissioner, human rights groups, the media and other social media bloggers to discountenance the report against the DPO, as it was cooked by the parties involved,” he said.