A civil society organisation, Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN), has petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun over the alleged unlawful detention and extortion of N500,000 from one Mr Cletus Nwebor by some police officers in Zone 13, Anambra state.
In the petition dated August 13, 2023, which was signed by the President of the organisation, Olu Omotayo, the group sought the intervention of the Inspector General of Police in the matter, describing the brazing criminal activities of policemen in Zone 13 and other parts of Southeast Nigeria as condemnable.
The group said such intimidation and extortion must be stopped.
Regretting why policemen should be meddling in a land matter that is already in Court, CRRAN demanded an immediate refund of the N500,000 extorted from Nwebor.
The petition was titled: “Re: Unlawful detention and extortion of N500,000 naira by some police officers from Mr Cletus Nwebor. Demand for the refund of the money and taking of necessary disciplinary action against the officers involved.”
Providing details on the alleged police harassment and extortion, the organisation’s President, Omotayo stated, “We write to you in respect of the above-mentioned matter on behalf of Mr. Cletus Nwebor of No. 18/20 Nike Avenue G.R.A. Enugu.
“Mr Cletus P. Nwebor and his father Jeofrey Nwebor had sometime in November 2022, made a petition to the Commissioner of Police Enugu State titled: “Re: Illegal and unlawful fraudulent removal of boundary marks with intent to defraud by Mr Paul Oscar Udoji and Mr Ifeanyi Nwandu”.
“While the matter was being investigated at the State Criminal Investigation Department Enugu, the duo of Udoji and Nwandu ran to Police Headquarters Zone 13 and made a petition against the Nwebors. So the Nwebors now became suspects at Zone 13.
“According to Cletus he later bailed himself after his arrest at Zone 13 and he reported severally after which the IPO of the Case ASP Okilo, said the matter is a land matter and it should be resolved by the parties.”
Thereafter, Cletus Nwebor decided to approach the court and filed a suit before the Enugu State High Court in Suit No: E/484/2023, between Mr Jeofrey Nwebor & Another and Mr Paul Oscar Ndoji & 2 Others, the petition stated.
“Surprisingly, on August 13, 2023, Cletus Nwebor was arrested by a team of policemen led by ASP Okilo, while attending a function in a hotel in Enugu.
“He was thereafter taken to Police Area Command Enugu, where he was detained. The IPO ASP Okilo, said his offence was that Cletus jumped bail as he did not come to Zone 13, again but Cletus said that since the Police asked that parties should settle because the case is a land matter, he decided to file a suit at an Enugu State High Court,” the petitioner said.
The group further explained that all efforts by family members to get Cletus, who was ill, on bail were abortive as the police demanded N1 million for his bail. The police also reportedly told Cletus to write that he would not enter the land in dispute again but he refused to do so.
“Even the intervention of the DCO Abakaliki Road Police Station who is a family friend of the Nwebors’ could not get Cletus released.
“When ASP Okilo and his team later agreed to collect part payment of N500,000, they insisted that Cletus must bring the N500,000 balance on Tuesday, 15th August when he is to report at Zone 13 Police Headquarters, Anambra.
“Part of the condition imposed before the release of Cletus was that the N500,000 should be transferred to the account of the DCO Abakaliki Road Police Station, who will in turn transfer to one of the officer’s accounts.
“Cletus transferred the sum of N250,000 to the account of the DCO Abakaliki Road Police Station and his friends contributed N80,000, N20, 000 and N150,000 respectively to make up another N250,000, which were transferred directly to the account of the DCO Abakaliki Road Police Station making a total of N500,000, which the DCO later transferred to the designated account given by Cletus Captors.
“Cletus was later released from his cell at the Area Command Enugu, at about 1 a.m. The mobile transaction receipts evidencing the respective transactions are attached herewith,” the petition partly read.
Condemning the criminal action of ASP Okilo and his team, CRRAN unequivocally, stated that Nigerian youths should not be intimidated and harassed at will by law enforcement agents.
The group insisted that no citizen of the country should be forced to part with their hard-earned money by security agents who are meant to protect the citizenry.
“We seek your office protection for Cletus Nwebor and demand that these policemen should be stopped from further harassing and extorting money from Cletus and his family.
“We demand a thorough investigation of this matter and demand that appropriate disciplinary action should be taken against the erring officers in other to serve as a deterrent to others,” the group said.
When contacted, the spokesperson for the Zone, SP Josephine Ihunwo, the police officer said the Assistant Inspector General of Police was already handling the matter.
“We are aware of the matter and the AIG is handling it,” the police spokesperson said.