From Judex Okoro, Calabar
Irene Ugbo, the police public relations officer in Cross River State, woke up on August 14 and carried out her daily routines without any inkling that there would be crisis in their compound at 39, Nsefik Layout, Calabar Municipilty.
Trouble started in the wee hours of that fateful day when a neigbhour, Mr. Effiom Nsefik, and his wife allegedly came out and rained insults on her and called her unprintable names.
The couple were in a fit of bad temper, accusing their next-door neigbhour of feeding another tenant’s dog that had bitten their visitor on the night of August 13.
That night, the couple allegedly threw tantrums at the police officer and continued pouring insults on her the following day.
But the couple, who happened to be relatives of her landlord, was still not satisfied at raining abuses and waited for her to come out of her apartment to assault her physically.
And as she came out, Nsefik’s wife first attacked her and was joined by her husband, the landlord’s younger brother, inflicting inujries on her face and back.
A witness, Bassey Bassey, 37, said Irene and the couple had been having altercations for a while, untill this latest assault on the police officer, resulting in injuries to her face, eyes, knees and other parts of her body.
Bassey said: “It was an unfortunate incident, as the couple went too far because they could have controlled their anger and the matter could have been handled amicably.
“There is a dog in the compound but it belongs to another tenant, not the policewoman. There has been a series of theft of car batteries and other petty things in the area.
“But since the tenant brought the dog, there has been no such occurrence. And so many people in the compound feed the dog, including the officer, in appreciation of what the dog has been doing. They (the couple) started making trouble since Thursday night because the dog had bitten and injured their visitor.
“When the matter started, the officer was calm and never responded until they started shouting, saying she was the one who usually fed the dog to have the strength to injure people.
“So, this morning, as she was about going out, the wife of the landlord’s younger brother stopped her and altercations ensued. I can tell you that Irene was thoroughly assaulted with injuries on the face, eyes and knees.”
On getting wind of the attack on one of their officers, the police command moved in and arrested the couple for interrogation. Confirming the arrest, the deputy PRO, Igri Ewa, said it was an unfortunate incident.
He said: “The attack on SP Irene Ugbo was unprovoked and uncalled for, but we shall allow the law to take its course.
“The matter has also been reported to the highest authority in the police and we want the public to know that no stone shall be left unturned in this matter.”
At the time of this report, Mr. and Mrs. Nsefik were still in police custody.
But one of the couple’s relatives, who didn’t want his name in print, said: “The police have no right to detain the couple for a mere disagreement that broke out in the compound. I hope police are not trying to use their position to intimidate my people.”