Notes for File

fter suffering many decades of police brutality and extra-judicial killings, Nigerian youths came out in October 2020 to attack the Nigerian police officers and men, who had turned themselves into the enemies of the people and made mockery of the ‘police is your friend’ mantra.

By the account of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, 57 civilians, 37 policemen and six soldiers were killed all over the country during the #EndSARS crisis.

While not justifying the killing of security agents, it is pertinent to point out that the minister failed to tell Nigerians that the number of security agents lost to the protest was a drop in the ocean when compared to the number of innocent Nigerians sent to their early graves by policemen over the years.

The Nigerian soldiers are notorious for killing policemen and civilians at the slightest provocation, while policemen kill civilians at checking points without any consequences.

However, the #EndSARS protest turned violent when it was hijacked by hoodlums who attacked police stations, killed policemen, stole AK-47 rifles and set the stations ablaze.

Many Nigerians thought that the protests would teach policemen a lesson to treat their fellow citizens with dignity, but policemen have since resumed business as usual, with one Miss Gloria Okolie being their latest victim.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had on Tuesday faulted the detention of Okolie, by the Nigeria Police Force.

In a statement by its spokesperson, Fatima Mohammed, the commission’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Tony Ojukwu, demanded that the detainee should be released immediately otherwise she should be charged to court to avail her of her right to fair hearing.

As at last count, Okolie was detained for 68 days without trial simply because her boyfriend, who was also in custody, is a suspected member of IPOB.

She was used as maid and sex slave by the police officers and when her lawyer raised the alarm and showed evidence of N220,000 extorted from her, the police authorities quickly promised a probe.

In what seemed like their usual frame-up of citizens to justify their atrocities, the police suddenly alleged that her account was used to send money to IPOB.

But the unanswered questions are: Who paid IPOB the money through her account? Who extorted N220,000 from her for bail? Why have the police not charged her to court? Why was she being used as maid and sex slave?

“Ojukwu became more disturbed upon learning that the victim while being detained was used as a slave girl to the officers and was terribly abused, washing clothes, sent in errands to buy stuffs for officers, tortured by some of the officers in charge of her detention hence the need for her release without further delay,” the NHRC statement read in part.

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Section on Public and Developmental Law, NBA-SPIDEL, has also threatened to drag the Inspector General of Police before the court for the continued detention of Okolie over her friendship with an alleged IPOB member.

In a statement issued by the Chairman of NBA-SPIDEL, Dr. Monday Ubani, the lawyers demanded that the police should release the suspect, who had been in detention for over 68 days or immediately charge her to court.

The question is: When will the Nigerian Police learn lessons and stop their frame-up of innocent citizens and cover-up of atrocities by their officers and personnel?

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