Posted by by Eke, Ikechukwu Williams on
Kindly give me a space in your most credible and true hope of the common man to bring to the notice of the public, the new Nigeria Police phenomenon.
Kindly give me a space in your most credible and true hope of the common man to bring to the notice of the public, the new Nigeria Police phenomenon. Following the August 4, 2004, raiding of Ogwugwu Akpu shrines of Okija in Anambra State by men of the Nigeria Police, encomiums were poured on the police by Nigerians as well as foreigners; but these people seem to be ignorant of the behind-the-scenes exploi-tations of the police.
The other sides of crimes uncovered by the police are usually worse than the real issues and those other sides are games played by the police. For instance, the Okija gate debacle saw the police arresting some people who never denied being the priests of Ogwugwu Shrine.
The priests' diabolical exploits and how the police arrested them formed the major issues in the news for the whole of August, 2004 but nobody cared to investigate and report the pains and sufferings of innocent people whom the police must have in one way or the other, erroneously yet deliberately, "linked" with the Okija Shrine. To tell you that police officers can be sadists; those arrested would have included by-standers, friends, and family members of the priests who knew nothing about the priests’ unwhole-some manoeuvres at the shrines, but with metallic shouts of "enter moto!", they would be whisked off into police vehicles.
Now, if the police arrested these people with the aim of interrogating them to aid their investigations of the priests, no one would complain, but no, the people that the Nigeria Police officers usually arrest "in connection" with crimes and even minor civil offences are not interrogated to elicit any meaningful clues with regard to the main suspects; instead, they are arrested to make money, that is, no one may be released without "bail money"! This police exploitative tendency is rampant in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital. In Abakaliki, the police arrest people with wanton recklessness and this practice has earned them the appellation, "enter moto people". This is because they simply drive to people and shrilly shout, "enter moto!" With that, innocent people are whisked off with police vehicles and as they are still wondering what they have done, the police torture and detain them. Subsequently, these people, apart from the dehumanizing torture they are subjected to by the police and hardened criminals in the cells, are also made to part with reasonable amount of money depending on the police station they are taken to whether it is Kpirikpiri, Central Police Station , or State C.I.D.
Another determinant of the amount to be paid by these innocent citizens is the classification of the allegation against them by the police, whether it is "I no follow" or "in connection with" case. The police turn the city into a ghost town as early as 7 p.m.-- ! the time they start their arrests, and it has been reported that they have a secret place where they dump people arrested between 7 and 11 pm till it is 12 midnight when they drive them in turns to police stations. The worst hit by this "enter moto" syn-drome in Abakaliki is the students' community; that is, students of the Ebonyi State University of the three cam-puses, comprising of College of Agricultural Sciences (CAS), College of Health Sciences (CHS) and Ishieke. Because of the condemnable secret cult activities occasionally experienced on these campuses, the police freely arrest harmless students who are severely tortured even when no harmful object is found on them. They are dumped in the excruciatingly stinking mini-rooms they call cells until their parents who mostly stay in far-away Nigerian cities get the news of their children’s unjust arrest and detention. But before the news gets to them, the police bestial brutality as well as the cells experiences must have overturned the students psychology.
The police inability to unravel the nefarious activities of the bad eggs, especially political assassinations in the society has clearly shown that they are far from professionals and patriots but in deed, a bunch of frustrated nit-wits who use the Nigeria Police as a subterfuge for their daily bread. They let themselves lose on Ebonyi State University students. Every student they arrest is a suspected armed robber or cult member. They are big catches for their parents know the consequen-ces of a charge of armed robbery or cultism.
An injury to one is an injury to all. The police in Abakaliki are not different from the police in other cities of the federation and I am sure that this most piteous phenomenon pervades every other Nigerian city. Take the Apo Killings for instance! For this, I am calling on the Commissioners of Police, the Senate Committee on Police Affairs, the Acting Inspector General of Police and other relevant personnel in line with the on-going efforts to rid the force of bad eggs, to look into this ugly trend of messing up students' lives for money.
In fact, innocent citizens, whether students or not, should not be made to suffer bitterly under "mad dogs" in the Police Force, who when found out, must have damaged the trust of the citizens who look to the police for their protection. Constant training and retraining should be organized for police officers with special focus on fundamental human rights and good public relations. This is because most of these flagrant displays of recklessness, financial rapacity, and unwarranted human suffering have been known to be perpetrated by junior, and ill-educated officers. Compara-tively, the superior officers are more tactful in investigations and sometimes humane in dealing with innocent suspects but one thing you cannot take away from men of the Nigeria Police is corruption (as aptly exemplified by the erstwhile Inspector General of Police), which often pushes them into willful shooting of a suspect, usually on the leg in order to compel parents and relations to cough out huge amounts of money for the release of their children still under detention.
"enter moto" is a dangerous phenomenon in the Nigeria Police Force. Behind it is corruption, beyond it is deceitful chivalry that attracts promotion, both of which I believe God will not forget.
But there are still men of good will in the force, men who do their duty with the fear of God and with respect for human dignity. To such men, hapless students and other Nigerians must entrust their fate.