Day police brutality nearly sent Enugu lawyer to his grave

By Editor on 20/08/2015

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Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase

Sunday, May 3, 2015 is a day that may have since been forgotten by many, simply because it came ans went without much incident to make it remarkable. But it is definitely not so for Chukwunonso Daniel Ogbe. For him, it is a day he would not forget in a long time to come, though he would have wished that he never saw it.

Although, it had opened for him like any other day, but the sadness it brought in its twilight would remain memorable for him at least for a long time. It was a day he nearly lost his life in the hands of those that were supposed to protect him simply because he failed to act like the ordinary man on the street, for whom the Nigerian police man depicts something to be dreaded, avoided and obeyed at the same time. In fact, his attempt not to abide by this strict, though unwritten law, nearly cost him his life.

But he was not lucky in other respects because though he is alive to tell his story, it is a sad one, given the beating of his life he allegedly received from the police. His offence, according to him was his refusal to part with some gratifications demanded from him by one Corporal Effiong Bassey, which saw him spending several days at the hospital.

Giving account of the incident, which took place at about 4.00pm, Chukwunonoso said he had gone to Amechi Uwani, in Awkunanaw, Enugu South Council, to see a client. On his way back to his Maryland residence, in the same local government when his vehicle was flagged down by the Corporal at a check point.

Trouble was said to have ensued, learnt, when Bassey with Police number 427669, a member of the four-man police officials from the Independence layout police station that mounted road block at the Loma Linda junction that evening, demanded for “something,” in addition to complying with his vehicle particulars, which he had duly presented.

According to the Nigerian Bar Association, Enugu Branch, in a statement on Wednesday, on the incident: “Not satisfied with just being given the particulars of the vehicle, Corporal Bassey was alleged to have said: ‘Anything for us for Sunday?’ Bar. Ogbe told him that he did not understand what he meant.

Corporal Bassey then openly demanded for money from Bar. Ogbe. Bar Ogbe told him that he would not give him (Bassey) any money. Corporal Bassey replied thus: ‘That means that you are an enemy and I will treat you as an enemy. Since you cannot give us money, you are going nowhere.’”

The statement said further: “Bar Ogbe’s car was there and then detained and his freedom of movement frustrated. While waiting for the release of his vehicle, Bar Ogbe brought out a manuscript he was editing and started his editing work there. He placed the manuscript on his vehicle and was writing on it. Corporal Bassey descended on him and started inflicting blows on him, perhaps thinking that he (Ogbe) was copying his particulars for a report to the police authorities.

“Corporal Bassey knocked down Bar Ogbe and held him to the ground and continued to beat him until other members of his team intervened. The most elderly member of the team asked Bar Ogbe what was wrong. While Barr Ogbe was trying to speak to him, Corporal Bassey rushed on him and dealt a blow to his right eye which resulted in the swelling of the eye. Corporal Bassey then tore Bar Ogbe’s dresses to shreds which left him naked to the consternation and amazement of passers-by.

Corporal Effiong cocked his gun and threatened to shoot him but other members of his team stopped him.”
The NBA said that Ogbe spent several weeks on the hospital bed following multiple injuries he received from the attack, adding that they decided to address the press on the development following alleged inability of the Commissioner of Police to respond to a petition it forwarded to his office on the incident.

“In our letter to the Commissioner of Police, we urged him to use his good offices to cause the immediate arrest and prosecution of Corporal Effiong, without prejudice to his being subjected to serious disciplinary action.
“Enugu Bar (ENBAR) also prayed the Commissioner of Police to put in motion a machinery to monitor police extortions from members of the public, especially motorists, which appears to have become official since they are being committed with contempt and impunity on daily basis in the full glare of the public.

Displaying Chukwunonso Ogbe.jpg


“The Commissioner of Police did not give us the courtesy of responding to our letter let alone addressing the abuses we were complaining of or bringing Corporal Effiong to book. Road blocks are still mounted in all nooks and crannies of the state where motorists continued to be exploited notwithstanding the directives of the Inspector General of Police,” the lawyers, said.

It accused the Police of monetising the bail process in Enugu state notwithstanding the palpable illegality of the act and alleged that “any accused person that is unable to pay money for bail will remain in detention well beyond the constitutionally prescribed period. Those who have the capacity to pay escape prosecution even when there are prima facie evidence of serious offences having been committed.”

The NBA continued: “In Enugu state, a complainant is required to pay money before his case is investigated. If he refuses or fails to pay either that his report will not be investigated or he may end up being the suspect where the supposed suspect is able to offer money.

“On many occasions, lawyers who are doing their legitimate duties are harassed in police stations as if they are criminals. In some cases, the police will take delight in humiliating the lawyer before his client. Accused persons are made to appear stupid for briefing a lawyer.

“Most land disputes in Enugu state are now being determined at the police stations notwithstanding the clear and unambiguous directive of the Inspector General of Police to the contrary.”

The NBA threatened to set up machinery of the law in motion against Corporal Effiong for the alleged act, adding that it may also be compelled to issue “a writ of mandamus against the Enugu State Commissioner of Police for failing in his public duties to stop police abuses in the state,”

Contacted on the development, the Police Public Relations Officer in Enugu State, Ebere Amaraizu (DSP), denied knowledge of the incident, adding that the police authority would not take kindly to indolence by her officers.
“I assure you that we will not sweep the matter under the carpet and we take serious exception to abuse from any officer. We will investigate this as soon as we receive the petition and if the officer is indicted, we will mete out serious sanctions against him,” he said.




Posted on August, 20 2015

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