- The people of Ughelli in Delta state are unhappy over police alleged extortion and collecting money from criminals in the town
- The community people said following the action of the police, criminals are now free to commit crime in the area
- But police authorities deny knowledge of the act saying they needed evidence to substantiate the claims
Residents of Oteri and other communities surrounding Ughelli, an ancient town in Delta state, have raised alarm over how police in ‘A’ Division are trading with robbers, collecting money and releasing them back to the community.
The community members raised the alarm when a human rights group, Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, led by Prince Kehinde Taiga, carried a campaign against kidnapping, robbery, extortion and other criminal activities to the area on Friday, April 7, 2017.
In a telephone interview with NAIJ.com after the rally, Prince Taiga said the community members gave vivid account of how police officers in ‘A’ Division allegedly extort money from the community members and release criminals after arresting them back to the community.
“We got complaints from people when we were campaigning that when they arrest robbers and cultists, they will take them to 'A' Division, the police will release the armed robbers and that is why cultism and armed robbery are so rampant in Ughelli.
“The police will collect money and later release them. The armed robber will come back to those who arrested them and tell them they will deal with them. They have become afraid of arresting armed robbers and cultists in Ughelli.
“The people at Oteri told us that some of the community chairmen are protecting the cultists. We now told them that any time a cultist is arrested and taken to police station, they should immediately alert us so that we can come in and call the Police Area Commander.
“They said some of the people have been arrested more than 10 times, they were released as soon as they got to the police station, so they are no longer afraid. People are no longer afraid to practice their cultism and robbery because when they arrest them, they will be released,” Prince Taiga said.
According to him, the police collect between N30,000 and N50,000 from the robbers and cultists and release them to go, adding that the police will go back to the street and arrest innocent people coming from work or farm, charge them to the police station and collect N5000 from them before releasing them.
Some of the community members who bared their minds to the human rights group are Amos Oteri and Onos Edafe, who have been having running battle with the police and the criminals in the area.
But the Area Commander of the Ughelli Division, Usman Ndanbabo, denied the police involvement in the alleged complicity with criminals in the Ughelli area.
According to Prince Taiga, Ndanbabo said he was not aware of such act by officers at ‘A’ Division in Ughelli, saying any time anybody is arrested, a report should be made to his office for proper monitoring of the arrest and to prove the allegations against the officers.
He commended the Ughelli Area commander, noting that he was available for them throughout the rally organized by Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Ughelli.
He added that Ndanbabo ordered his men to be on the escort and he also participated in the rally, campaigning against illegal arrest, extortion, cultism, kidnapping and other criminal activities in Ughelli.
“We carried awareness campaign against cultism, kidnapping, armed robbery, police harassment, extortion, illegal arrest in Ughelli. The Area Commander was on ground, he participated in everything we did.
But public relations officer of the Delta state police command, Andrew Ani Amaka, also denied the allegation, saying as far as there is no substantive case reported, it is difficult to prove the allegations against the officers.
“Just give me one example. You should know these things as much as I do. In this case in question, there should be the person alleging so that we are not just talking in the air.
“We should have a case in point, an example to hold onto. This is just like saying journalists are bad. How do you respond to that?
“Look, the police are the enforcers of human rights. Don’t forget that we are constitutionally mandated, not just to recognize but also to protect the rights of people.
“So, we should have a case in point. It should be at such and such a time, such a person reported such a case to the police that A or B did that. And then we know what we are investigating,” Ani Amaka told NAIJ.com.
Also, the group commended the traditional ruler of Abraka, HRM Akpomeyoma Majoroh, chiefs of the community, Vice Chancellor of Delta State University, Professor Victor Peretomode and the state police command for making the rally a great success.
Meanwhile, a Nigerian man is unhappy over the state of the nation saying he doesn't want to say but Nigerian government should not drive him to do so