Group Alleges Police Brutality, Extortion In Bayelsa, Petitions IGP | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Group Alleges Police Brutality, Extortion In Bayelsa, Petitions IGP

Posted: Aug 3, 2015 at 6:26 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Igoniko Oduma, Yenagoa


The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) in Bayelsa State has decried “the indiscriminate arrest of innocent persons, extortion and other shady activities of the rank and file of the Bayelsa State Police Command.”

The CLO has petitioned the Inspector-General  of Police , Solomon Arase, and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), drawing their attention to the alleged illegal operations of men of the command, under Police Commissioner Paul Okafor.

Chairman of the CLO, Nengi James, said in Yenagoa on Monday, August 3, 2015, that the police in Bayelsa, instead of protecting life and property, carry out their duties without regard to the rule of law.

“The CLO, after a preliminary investigation by a special team of undercover comrades and youth  leaders, discovered a shocking dimension to the illegal duties of the Bayelsa State police, through the men of the State Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and the various divisions of the state police command,” he said.

According to James, the group’s report showed that men of the command, on a daily basis, engage in mass arrest of innocent people, charging them with “wandering” and demanding between N5,000 and N10,000 as “bail” before releasing them without any paperwork.

“Those that cannot pay the illegally-demanded “fees” are made to sleep in a congested cell with over 100 youths cramped together. (The police) also don’t separate the minors from the mature victims,” he said.

The CLO boss lamented that policemen in the state have turned ordinary citizens to an easy source of money while transporters, such as Keke NAPEP, and civil servants have become a bigger means of making money to the rank and file of the command.

The group, however, noted that some police officers attached to some divisions in Yenagoa and its metropolis have been known to be above board in their conduct.

James called on Arase and the NHRC to investigate of abuse, extortion and brutalisation of members of the public in the state, urging “the IG and the NHRC to pay a secret and surprise visit to Bayelsa State and they will catch the police doing their illegal duties.”

In reaction to question from Daily Independent, Police Public Relations Officer, Asinim Butswat, said the  Bayelsa State Command has a duty to address complaints of infractions by policemen and sanction such erring officers.