A Legal Practitioner, Barrister Chibaramuobi Obasi, has called for the disbandment of the Nigerian Police Force in order to end the high level of atrocities, brutality, torture and intimidation on citizens caused by the high level of greed of high ranking Officers.
Testifying before Rivers State Judicial Commission of Inquiry on Police Brutality, Obasi advocated for a reconstituted intellectually driven Police Force.
He noted that until the activities of superior police officers are checkmated, police brutality and other forms of inhumane treatments against members of the society will continue unabated.
He alleged that the then Oyigbo Divisional Police Officer, Nathaniel Okpara, raided his home with a team of police officers on 6th November, 2011, and carted away with his property worth over six million naira.
According to him, the property looted from his home by the DPO was materials and equipment meant for his ongoing facilities that were under construction.
“On 6th November, 2011, DPO Nathaniel Okpara came in a convoy of three Police Van amidst sporadic gunshots, he attacked me and my family including tenants. In the cause of the attack, he looted property worth over six million naira. I have two halls in my building, one is used for football viewing center and the other is used as a packing store for materials and equipment meant for my developing facilities.
“DPO Nathaniel looted my projectors and televisions from the football viewing center, dug out two functional generator from my building, he broke into my store and carted away all valuables and materials for my eighty rooms hotel in Rivers, equipment for my hotel under construction in Kogi State, materials for my Table water Factory in Suleja and materials for my Animal Farm in Okohia in Abia State.
“The whole incident was like a robbery attack, after he carted away with my property, for three weeks, I didn’t do anything, because it was his mode of operation to raid people’s property, loot and cart away their valuables and expect you to come and pay huge amount of money. I was waiting for his call for negotiation to claim back the property, but he refused to return them.
“I petitioned him to the Inspector General of Police and DPO Nathaniel admitted the act before the IG that he actually looted all the said properties. After CSP Okolo had interviewed me and the six witnesses I took to Abuja, they confirmed that the allegations made against him and the junior Officers he took took to the place were true.
“While we were there, the then Commissioner of Police Rivers State was calling and begging the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of IG’s Monitoring Unit to ensure the case against the DPO is less difficult, which the ACP outrightly told the CP Rivers State that DPO Nathaniel did not do the job professionally.
“The investigation against him was carried out by a Police Officer attached to the IG monitoring unit, Emmanuel Ogbodo, and they confirmed everything. But, the Police High Command concealed these crimes, shielded them from prosecution and that is the heart of the matter that Nigerians are fighting for.
“I became a lawyer at a very young age so I know the police force inside out, the junior Police Officers on the road be it SARS, Anti-kidnapping, Anti-Cultism teams are not the major problem, the real problem of the Police force is the senior officers in the office.
“It is the Police superiors that send the junior Officers to extort money from Nigerians, to rob and perpetrate all kinds of atrocities, because they give returns to their bosses and when they commit these crimes, the senior officers in turn shield them from investigation, prosecution, punishment and the crime continues.
“Even if you end SARS in the world without dealing with the indiscipline and rapacity of the superior officers, the problem will continue and corruption in the force will be on the increase, because any junior officer who refuses to extort and commit crimes for the high ranked Officers will automatically be catapulted to a remote hinterland or war zone to go and die.
“The greed in the Nigerian Police Force is too much, when a junior officer collects bribe and share with his superior, how can that boss reprimand him against his actions? To the extent that police officers plan with criminal gangs to be part of their operational activities, that is how bad the police force have become.
“The solution is to disband the Nigerian Police and create another Police that is brain and intellectually driven. Nigerian Police Force should no longer recruit school dropout, people without no formal education, tout into the system”
He however demanded that the DPO and the team of Officers that raided his home, should be brought to book and a compensation of three hundred million naira be paid to him for all the losses.
Also, one Kiribo Ibinabo a member of Okuruama Community Surveillance Group Transamadi, have demanded justice against Officers of Anti-Cultism Unit from Police Headquarters Moscow Road Port Harcourt, for damaging his left leg through a gun fire on 24th April, 2018, at Okuruama, while carrying out his duty.
According to him, he is a member of a local vigilante group, Okuruama Community Surveillance, while they were on duty Anti cultism Unit of the Police Headquarters Division, approached them and shot him on his left leg, without him committing any offence. He told the Panel that the matter was later taking up to Inspector General of Police zone 6, Abuja, who promised to take actions on the matter, till date nothing has been done.
He noted that he lost his mother as a result of the shock she got from the Incident, while lamenting that he can no more foot the school bills of his children, as the bones in his left leg was pierced from the gun shot.
He however demanded justice to be served on the matter and a compensation of twenty million naira be paid to him.
Another petitioner Manson Tordee, a former Councilor of the Peoples Democratic party PDP ward 13 in Khana Local Government Manson accused the former Local government Chairman of Khana, Kingsley Legborsi Leh, of recruiting mobile unit Police Officers of Bori Division to arrest and brutalize him over an allegation that he single handedly burnt down account department of the local government Secretariat, on 14th December, 2005.
He told the panel that the brutalization came as a result of his call for investigation into the Council’s funds, which he claimed was being misappropriated by the Chairman Legborsi Leh, while demanding justice, compensation and the return of all his valuables and documents confiscated by the Police Officers.
Out Correspondent reports that the commission received 180 petitions and have so far treated over one hundred since it Inaugural sitting in port Harcourt.