Some property owners and residents of Royal Estate, behind SARS office Rukpokwu in Obio-Akpor Local Government Area of the State, have raised the alarm over the ongoing demolition of their buildings under the supervision of Operatives of Inspector General of Police Monitoring Unit in Aluu.
They lamented that their properties are being destroyed without notice or consultation with the owners of the buildings.
Our correspondent who visited the site sighted a bulldozer with an operator destroying some buildings and fences of the residents with Officers of Inspector General of Police Aluu Unit supervising.
In an interview with our correspondent at the scene of demolition, Chairman of the Royal Estate, Edward Wonkwo-Tasie, said they were surprised to see bulldozer on 13th January, 2021, brought in by one Apostle Egeonu in company of Police Operatives attached to Inspector General of Police Monitoring Unit Aluu, destroying buildings within the estate.
Wonkwo-Tasie emphasized that they have never been involved in any litigation involving the said land, while acknowledging a court matter which he claimed did not affect Royal Estate.
He however called on Commissioner of Police Rivers State, the Inspector General of Police, Governor Nyesom Wike to urgently intervene and withdraw the Police Officers aiding the demolition of their properties, in order to avert crisis that may lead to loss of lives.
“When they started the destruction I immediately went to lodge a formal complaint before the Divisional Police Officers Rumuokoro in Obio Akpor local government area, because the Royal Estate falls under his jurisdiction. The DPO gave us three Police Officers that accompanied us to the site.
“The officers who went with us asked them to stop the demolition, but officers of the IGP monitoring unit said they are of federal Police and not of Rivers State Commissioner of Police and won’t stop. After all efforts to stop them, they refused, instead they threatened me that they will get me arrested and dump me where nobody will know my whereabouts.
“Nobody has told us anything, we have been occupying there since 2015, it’s really shocking to us, if you don’t want them to destroy your building, you pay some amount of money to Apostle Egeonu and your building will be spared, my building was destroyed.
“My call is that let government ask the police officers supervising the demolition to leave, because if we the Royal Estate body that our buildings are being destroyed take laws into our hands, the same government will say we are not law abiding citizens, that is why we are following due process by alerting the DPO”
Reacting to the incident, a Human Rights Advocate, Higher-King, described the actions of Police Officers who are aiding an unlawful demolition against residents of Royal Estate as injustice, stressing that it is unconstitutional for the Police to be involved in civil matters.
“Let the Inspector General of Police, the Commissioner of Police Rivers State, the DSS and Governor Nyesom Wike call these Officers to order, the Police should be withdrawn immediately because this could lead to blood bath, it could lead to mayhem and communal crisis. Police does not have a hand in civil matters, what are they doing there?.
“If it is court execution or judgement execution, it is all in one day, police don’t have right to station there and be destroying people’s property in this modern day world, it is never done any where, not in this present day that people take laws into their hands.
“I don’t know the purpose why they are doing this, but I think it’s for land grabbing, if anyone feels his or her land is taken, they should go to court and obtain judgement, after the court judgement, you get the court to do the investigation.You don’t go executing judgement by yourself, it is called self help and self help have been condemned in Ojukwu and Governor of Lagos State in 1984.
“Nobody has right to take laws into his or hand including the president of Nigeria, you must follow due process, you must follow the law. What I think is that, they want to cause trouble for the Governor, they want to make this state ungovernable for the Governor. Police should keep clear from Civil matters, is the IGP monitoring unit not among the disbanded SARS, what are they still doing there”