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Juliana Francis

The Ebonyi State Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, (NUJ) and Correspondent of THISDAY newspapers in the State, Comrade Ben Nworie, wrote to the Inspector General of Police, demanding a probe of the Ebonyi State Police Command over issues relating to human rights abuses.

Nworie was said to have been arrested by men of the Crack Squad of Ebonyi State Police Command on Thursday, October 19, 2023 in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State Command.

Nworie narrated thus: “On a fateful day at about 7:3O pm, I stopped over at my friend’s shop at the ever-busy G-hostel road, where he sells beer, waiting for the commencement of a function at Re-meritona hotel, the venue of a dinner being organised by the Ebonyi State government in honour of the members of Ebonyi State House of Assembly members.

“Shortly after my stop over at the shop,  men of the Crack Squad sighted our table, stopped and rounded our us, seized our phones and forced me, and my three friends into their two hilus vans to the headquarters of Ebonyi Police Command. All efforts to identify myself and my three friends fell on deaf ears.

“On getting to the office of the Crack Squad, we were forcefully ordered to remove our clothes and pushed inside the Cell containing 32 arrested persons.

“We spent 20 hours from October 19 to October 20 when we were released through the intervention of the Ebonyi State chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Comrade Samson Nwafor and other close friends. While in detention, we were neither given access to our phones nor told our offences.

“It was regrettable also to hear from other detainees who narrated that they were either returning from shops and they were accosted and arrested or they just parked their cars to buy food. A regrettable case was two brothers who said they were going to visit their father at Dr Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital in Abakaliki and were arrested while trekking to the hospital.

“Therefore, I call on the Inspector General of Police to scrap Crack Squad unit of Ebonyi police command over gross violation of human rights, freedom and extortion of innocent citizens.

“To arrest, investigate and prosecute operatives of the Crack Squad over our unlawful Arrest, Detention, harassment, intimidation and financial extortion.

“To mandate the Commissioner of Ebonyi State Police Command, CP Tina Ogbodo to step up routine supervision of all the units of the command to ensure that they operate within their rules of engagement and best practices and release all those who were unlawfully arrested.

“To stop further harassment and random arrest and detention of innocent citizens in Ebonyi State in view of the fact that no part of the state is under curfew.”

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