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Published On: Wed, Feb 19th, 2014

Warri Residents Raise Alarm over Incessant Police Harassment

Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mr Mohammed Abubakar

LAGOS FEBRUARY 19TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Some concerned citizens of the oil rich city of Warri, Delta State, have raised the alarm over the activities of men and officers of the B-Division Police Station, Warri, alleging that they are embarking on illegal road bloc, unlawful detention and other unwholesome activities that have undermined the law establishing the police force.
The concerned citizens who visited the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Warri Correspondents Chapel Press Centre with barrage of complaints, said the unscheduled visit became necessary to attract the attention of police hierarchy in Asaba and Abuja over what they described as unfriendly disposition of the Men of B-Division also known as Avenue Police Station.
They regretted that while they were beginning to enjoy the dividend of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan’s peace and security agenda which has engendered the return of night life to the oil rich city, it is worrisome that police activities have made it troublesome for people to exercise their right to freedom of movement particularly in the evening hours.
“We have come to you people as the watch dog of society to help us reach out to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the Commissioner of Police, Delta State Command and the Delta State Government and let them know the embarrassment that has become the B-Division. The other day, they went round the whole of Okumagba Avenue arresting indiscriminately people who were relaxing at beer palours subjecting them to bail raging from three to five thousand Naira depending on your bargaining power.”
“A boy who was returning from lesson whose photograph we have here was arrested and injured with the butt of police riffle. Another young boy who went to buy akara was arrested and all of them bundled to the station. Just recently, another young man who was returning from work carrying a video camera was accosted and upon interrogation he told them that he hired the camera. They insisted that he must take them to the owner which he obliged them. When they got there they arrested the owner of the camera and took him to the station in spite of the fact that the receipt of the camera was produced. Is that the kind of job they send them to do here. Instead of looking for armed robbers and kidnappers they are busy arresting innocent citizens going about their legitimate businesses,” our source who crave for anonymity queried.
Another man who was in company of the August visitors who gave his name as Oghenekevwe Onome, said another issue that is giving serious concern is the issue of illegal road blocs within Okumagba Avenue where unsuspecting commuters and pedestrians alike are subjected to embarrassment and extortion.
In reaction to allegation of unwholesome practices by his officers and men, the Divisional Police Officer ( DPO) B-Division, Warri, Mr Garaje Gado has said the division would not tolerate any act of unlawfulness and overzealousness by his personnel.
Gado while speaking with a team of journalists from the Warri Correspondents Chapel of the NUJ who visited him at his office, Warri, to get his comment, condemned in the strongest terms if there is any where officers of the division unlawfully harass residents of the area who are on their legitimate business, vowing that the division under his watchful eyes will not condole any form of lawlessness by men who are supposed to uphold the law.
While soliciting the support of the residents of the area for better policing of lives and properties in the division, Gado urged the people of the area to always report to him where his men engaged in illicit dealings as well as extortion, adding that although his men are not blameless, members of the public should also accept complicity because the officers are product of the society.
He reiterated the need for a mutual working relationship between the press and the Nigerian Police Force to combat crime in the society.

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