From George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
The National Coordinator, Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN) Mr Ikule Emmanuel has said that arbitrary arrest, impunity, brutality and killing of innocent citizens by officers of the Nigeria Police is getting worse in the South East .
This, he noted is contrary to section 34/39 of the nation’s 1999 Constitution as amended, explaining that Police Tribunal was put in place to offer aggrieved Nigerians veritable opportunities to air their views and deter the police from going ahead with this culture of impunity.
Ikule stated this while speaking with newsmen at a 2-day Public Tribunal on Police Abuses in Nigeria, South-East zone, organized by the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria, in collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Police Service Commission (PSC) held in Owerri, Imo state capital at the weekend .
He lamented that the Federal government has not shown enough seriousness in tackling what he described as a growing menace .
“Federal government has not been serious in dealing with the issue of Police brutality. The Police Service Commission (PSC) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) are expected to address the issue of police brutality and officers guilty of this should be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the law”.
The position of Ikule came against the background of petitions by some Nigerians to the Tribunal on Police Abuses and brutality in the state, and the south east in general.
One of the petitions filed at the tribunal by was by a group “Concerned Awka Citizens” over alleged police brutality and corruption and criminal obstruction of justice, criminal concealment of evidence of crime and criminal abuse of access to information under the custody of the Nigeria Police force, crack squad- zone 9 Umuahia in a case involving one Chukwunenye Nweke.
Similarly , Onyekachi Uluocha (40) Uluocha Chinedu (42) Uzochukwu Uluocha and Marshal Uzoma who narrated how they were arrested by the police over a land matter.
The siblings who hail from Umuguma in the Owerri West Council Area of the state, said that they were arrested on the 6th of March, 2021 on trumped up charges of being members of the controversial Eastern Security Network (ESN) consequent upon a false a report by one Anthony Ogbonna Shabba and dumped into the Tiger base where they spent 8 days detention.
Uzochukwu Uluocha , said that it was through the intervention of Executive Director of the Human Rights Aids and Legitimacy International,Uche Ohangorom that they were discharged from police Detention after eight days. He disclosed to the Tribunal the Police has continued to harass them on the instruction of Anthony Ogbonna ( Shabba) as they no longer sleep in their Homes . They further alleged police authorities in the state have refused to rein in Anthony Ogbonna who is well known to the police command.
Eze Eluchie ,Executive Director “Paddi foundation” noted that Police brutality is mostly pronounced in the South-East region, stating that victims must speak out to the appropriate relevant authorities to seek redress.
“Police disciplines the bad eggs among them either through dismissal, demotion, reprimand when their offences are officially established beyond all reasonably doubts. “Unfortunately, victims of police brutality are afraid to come forward with their case”