The Rivers State Police Command and the unlawful arrest, detention of Santos Owolo

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    Basically, the duty of the Nigerian Police Force, is that of prevention and detection of crime, the apprehention of offenders, the preservation of law and order, the protection of life and property and the enforcement of all laws and regulation with which they are directly charged, etc.

    Mr. Santos Owolo, a human rights activist and staff of Emuoha Local Government Council, was reportedly arrested by men of the Nigerian Police Force, numbering about 13 officers,including a female officer who invaded his residence in Portharcourt, in a commando manner and took him away..

    Santos Owolo from the portharcourt maximum prison

    According to his wife, mrs. Santos Owolo, they were in their house in the early hours of Saturday, 22nd January, when they heard a bang on their door and a voice shouting, ‘open this door or I will break it’. She opened the door and saw about 13 Police officers armed with guns, among them was a woman,an officer. They forced theirselves into the appartment, searching every where and asking, ‘where is your husband?’.

    Mr. Owolo had gone into their barthroom, having heard the voices of the Police men. He was typing messages in his mobile phone fo his friends, alerting them of the incident. He was still sending the messages when the officers forced the door opened and violently dragged him out. He was severely assaulted and bundled into their waiting van. The wife was not informed of the offence committed by her husband, neither was she told where her husband was being taking to. Two day later, mrs. Owolo discovered that her husband was being held at the State Criminal Investigating Department(SCID), Port harcourt.

    Our investigation revealed that the Area Commander of Ahoada Police Command was petitioned by the Ahoada West Local Government Chairman, Envang. Hon. Hope Ikiriko, alleging libelous and defamatory publications against his person by mr. Owolo Santos. Based on the petition, the Ahoada Area  Command sent an invitation letter to mr. Owolo, asking him to report at the Command office.

    Mr. Santos Owolo, believing he would’nt receive fair hearing from the Area Command where the Local Government Chairman holds sway, petitioned the State Commissioner of Police, mr. Mustapha Dandaura, asking for the transfer of his case file from Ahoada to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Port harcourt.

    According to barr. Higher King, a Human Right lawyer and lawyer to mr. Santos Owolo,the Commissioner of Police approved and granted mr. Owolo’s request and Tuesday,25ft February, 2020 was slated for both parties, mr. Owolo Santos and the Local Government Chairman to appear before the State CID for their statements. Two days before the said date, mr. Owolo’s resident was invaded and Owolo wisked away by the Nigerian Police.

    Assuming, without conceding that mr. Santos Owolo did make libelous and defamatory statements against the person of Hon. Hope O Ikiriko, the Local Government Chairman, was petitioning the Nigerian Police the most appropriate response or measure to have have been taken? Libel and defamation are Civil matters and has nothing to do with the Nigerian Police. Was the involvement of the Police meant to intimidate, harras and torture mr. Santos Owolo or to secure justice?

    On the part of the Nigerian Police, did’nt they know that the matter reported to them was a purely Civil matter than can only be judicated in the Court and not at the Police station? Did’nt they know that the bill on hate speech is yet to be passed into law? How much were those unlawful Police officers paid to bring the name of the Nigerian Police Force into disrepute?

    Obviously, mr. Santos Owolo’s Fundamental Human Rights has been violated by the Nigerian Police Force by unlawfully arresting, detaining and torturing him for several days without charging him to Court within the allowable period of time. The Nigerian Police Force should be prepared to pay some millions of naira as damages for their unreasonable and unlawful acts..  

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