Pelumi Olajengbesi, an Abuja-based lawyer and human rights campaigner, slammed the Nigeria Police Force for acting like kidnappers and unknown gunmen in their operations on Monday.
The arrest of Uche Nwosu, a son-in-law of an ex-governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, in a Gestapo-style by the police, was termed as humiliating by the lawyer.
He went on to say that the police’s actions jeopardized democratic ideals, and that the Force’s top brass should do everything possible to bring the wrongdoing officers to justice.
Olajengbesi revealed this in a statement issued mere hours after masked security agents kidnapped Nwosu during a church service in his village of Eziama Obieri, in the Nkwerre Local Government Area of Imo State, on Sunday.
The statement was titled, ‘Nigeria Police Force Gestapo style arrest of Uche Nwosu is an embarrassment to Nigeria Justice System’.
It read in part, “The Nigeria Police Force’s conduct in the forceful arrest and apprehension of Chief Uche Nwosu is shameful, unprofessional and smacks of obstinate hooliganism, and hereby stands strongly condemned. Their mode of arrest has all the markings of kidnappers and ‘unknown gunmen’, leaving more questions than answers in the struggle to unravel the latter menace.
“As a rule of operation, men of the Nigeria Police Force are not only required to properly identify themselves before effecting an arrest but must be backed by the force of law in the form of a warrant of arrest properly executed. In the arrest of Chief Uche Nwosu who interestingly is a former gubernatorial candidate in the state of his arrest, police officers dressed in muftis stormed the victim’s church where they reportedly shot sporadically scaring churchgoers and put lives and limbs in danger as many scrambled for safety.
“The very nature of the arrest of Chief Uche Nwosu who was neither declared wanted by a competent court nor proven to be evading arrest betrays the political struggle between the state governor and Chief Nwosu’s father-in-law, Senator Rochas Okorocha. But by continually lending itself as a tool of political oppression in the power struggle that has consumed Imo State, the Nigeria Police Force is advertising itself as a ‘touts for hire’ agency, consumed more by subservience to the abuse of power and clout than by a sense of commitment to the law and due process and this is a truly regrettable state of affair.
“The bastardization of the law and due process by the Police Force represents a great threat to the ideals of democracy that we claim to uphold and it is one that is frequently understated. We must now consider drastic actions beyond token disciplinary actions against a few errant officers to a complete overhaul of the Force without regards or favour to any.”