Families of the over thirty persons arrested by the Rivers State Police Command during a protest by the Ikokwu spare parts dealers at the Ikokwu axis of mile 3 Diobu, Port Harcourt local government area of Rivers State have called for their release.
The spare parts dealers were protesting the alleged torture and killing of their colleague, Chima Ikwunado, who died in the custody of Eagle Crack Unit of Mile 1 police station.
Some of the spare parts dealers who spoke to our correspondent, Tina Amanda, on Monday lamented that they were not happy over the unlawful manner their colleague was killed by the Police.
According to them, the late “Chima Ikwunado’s wife is pregnant and due to deliver, he got a distress call from home to rush down to see his wife, on his way out of Ikokwu, he drove one way in order to beat the traffic but was stopped by e-crack officers of the police and was arrested and detained”.
They said further that during the interrogation of Ikwunado by the police, the officers discovered ninety-five thousand naira on him, and tagged him a criminal, stressing that Ikwunado died as a result of pain and injury sustained from the torture.
Some Ikokwu customers complained that they have not been able to get their work done as they have been running from sporadic gunshots by police officers.
One Mr Wisdom explained with sadness that he has been running since morning he got to Ikokwu.
“I came to Ikokwu to work my shaft. Since morning I came here, I have been running. If you look at my eyes, they are red because of the teargas sprayed by the police. I have been running up and down for no reason, the government should look into this matter and put an end to the nonsense police officers are doing in this country”.
However, the families of those detained called on the police to release their relatives who did not commit any crime by protesting on the streets.
They alleged that some of the detained are being tortured in the detention to confess to crimes they did not commit.
They lamented that those arrested in the mass arrest are innocent, adding that they did not commit any offence known to law.
Our correspondent observed during the protest that there were several police vans on patrol and stationed at Ikokwu axis, adding that the police officers were subjecting passersby to inhumane treatment by forcing them to raise their hands above their heads while walking past the area.