24th October, 2021
By Jethro Ibileke
Some police personnel in Edo State have been forced to cough out the sum of N10,000 for the treatment of a member of Edo Civil Society Organisations (EDOCSO), Larry Enabulele, after allegedly assaulting him.
A statement by the Interim Public Relations Officer of EDOSCO, Aliyu Umweni, said the incident occurred at about 12.30 pm on Thursday, 21 October, 2021, at a checkpoint along Ugbegun/Opoji road, in the Edo central senatorial district.
He said Enabulele who is the Coordinator of Igueben Study Centre of EDOSCO, who was riding on a motorcycle, was flagged down at a checkpoint by the operatives whose operational van has ‘Crack Team Special Force’ written on it.
Acording to him, “Trouble started when the officers alleged that the activist did not stop at the exact spot the officers asked him to stop, but the rights activist maintained that he never beats the checkpoint as he had stopped his motorbike as instructed by the officers.
“The engagement did not go down well with the officers, as they claimed nobody dare talk when they are talking.
“At this point, they ordered him to alight from his motorcycle, which he obliged. One of the officers dipped his hand in the activist’s pocket and brought out his phone, but when the activist tried to remind him of the implications, he replied him with slaps and punches on his face.
“This attracted the attention of the team leader who was sitting on the patrol van, who then demanded he is brought before him.
“On getting to him, the activist maintained his position that he didn’t beat the checkpoint as alleged by the officers. This angered them the more and it was slaps again right in the presence of the team leader, who then ordered that he should be put on handcuffs and dumped into their hillux van, an order they quickly carried out.”
The statement further alleged that Enabulele’s hands were finally let out of the handcuffs after two hours, during which his phone was confiscated.
“When he eventually had access to his phone, he called on some Comrades and reported his ordeal to the leadership of the Coalition, upon which the OC at the state headquarters was contacted to report the activities of his men.
“The CP (Philip Ogbadu) was also informed of the level of infraction and violation of his rights as a citizen. The CP then ordered that the matter be incidented at the Irrua Divisional Police headquarters.”
It was however gathered that while the Coordinator General of EDOSCO, Bishop Osadolor Ochei and his predecessor, Omobude Agho, were handling the matter at the police command headquarters in Benin, the DPO of Irrua Division, CSP Ojidahan Lawrence, requested to resolve it, which was accepted.
“At the end, they succeeded in coughing out the sum of N10,000 for medical treatment,” the statement said.
“When contacted on phone, the State Police Command spokesman, SP Kontongs Bello, said he was not aware of the incident.
EDOSCO which has been at the forefront of battle against police brutality and intimidation in the state, had similarly forced operatives of Etete Police Division, in Benin, to pay the sum of N20,000 to a tricycle rider, Victor Asuquo, for loss of income incurred during the days his tricycle was illegally detained at the station.
A statement by EDOSCO said: “Having duly analysed the situation and concluded that no criminal offence had been preferred against the rider, they took necessary steps.
“A visit was paid to the police station to demand for the release of the tricycle and payment for the loss of income to the rider. It was clear the police couldn’t provide the constitutional powers donated to them to be demanding for rider’s permit and to detaining the tricycle.
“The Divisional Police Officer having been made to know the implications of the infractions done by her men, resorted to resolution, but the activists wouldn’t hear of it without a compensation for the detention of the tricycle which has led to loss of income to the rider.
“The DPO promised to make up the loss of income for the tricycle rider on Monday the 18th day of October, 2021. On the said day, the sum of N20, 000 was handed to the tricycle rider for loss of income for the period his tricycle was detained in the station illegally,” the statement said.