By Patrick Ochoga
The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, Thursday condemned in strong terms the brutal treatment meted on a bus driver in Benin City by men of the Nigerian Police Force and called on the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Idris, to wade into these cases with a view to bring the errant police officers to book.
This condemnation is coming barely 48 hours after video making round on the social media of police inhuman treatment of a bus driver chained to to hilux bus had gone viral.
The Executive Director, ANEEJ, Reverend David Ugolor in a statement said the daily harassment and brutality of innocent citizens by the men of the Nigerian Police Force, portend a serious affront on the rule of law and a gross violation of the fundamental rights of individuals and groups.
“ ANEEJ is worried that these rampant cases violate human rights and threaten the very core of our existence as a people. The NPF, said to be a friend of the people, should understand that their primary aim and not to molestthem’,
is to protect its citizens “What is becoming a trend in Benin City are instances of high-handedness by the police against the voice of civilians to freedom of speech and association.
“A recent incidence is the arrest of a civil society activist, Kola Edopkayi, on trumped up charges of treason and incitement. The said individual is a seasoned and committed advocate of social justice and citizen empowerment and who has respect for constituted authority.
“ At another instance, at the Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, the police were alleged to have invaded a university in Edo State and harassed very senior members of the academic community.
‘In the light of this, ANEEJ therefore calls on the IGP to as a matter of urgency, order the release of the said activist unconditionally and launch a high-powered investigation into the circumstances surrounding his arrest. We deplore the erection of illegal road blocks being used to extort monies from”
“Edo citizens who struggle to eke a living in these very tough times of recession. Let the IGP use his good office to immediately carry out a massive programme of investigation on the rank and file of the police in Edo State, to sweep the NPF in Edo state of the bad eggs in the system who are giving the police a bad name’ the Rev said.