A seeming special security squad of the Inspector General of the Nigeria Police in Akwa Ibom State, one of the big oil states in Southern Nigeria, is causing serious concern in the state with their alleged undying sex rampage.
Most of the victims of this unwholesome act, are scared to come into the open to dare the IG’s men who appear to be enjoying their ‘’fringe benefit’’ in the state.
But, a Senior Nursing Officer with the state’s Ministry of Health, Mrs. Magaret Udoh, has refused to allow the sex carnage by the policemen to be swept under the carpet. She has accordingly taken up the alleged sex maniacs in a petition to the IGP Muhammed Adamu, over assault and abuse of her person as well as illegal detention.
Mrs Udoh is alleging that men of the IGP Intelligence Response Team (IRT) sexually abused and assaulted her when they invaded her resident at St. Christopher Avenue at Nung Udoe, in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area of the state, at about 1am on the night of Saturday, April13, 2019.
This is coming as the BBC News had on May 19, 2010 reported that Nigeria’s police force carry out extrajudicial killings, torture in custody, and sexual assault against women, according to a study by a civil liberties group.
The report claimed that police openly parade suspects for the media, before executing them without trial.
The Open Society Justice Initiative’s study was then the latest of a number of reports to severely criticise Nigeria’s police for brutality and corruption.
BBC said at the time of their report, the authorities did not make any comment on the report.
The group observed officers and suspects at 400 different police stations over two years. They say Nigeria’s police, in effect, get away with murder. ‘’Police in Nigeria commit extrajudicial killings, torture, rape, and extortion with relative impunity’’, the report according to the BBC said.
Continuing, it said, ‘’Nigeria Police Force personnel routinely carry out summary executions of persons accused or suspected of crime. [The police] rely on torture as a principal means of investigation; commit rape of both sexes, with a particular focus on sex workers; and engage in extortion at nearly every opportunity.’’
The study detailed cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. It also described prostitutes being arrested and raped.
One policeman was quoted saying: ‘’This is one of the fringe benefits attached to night patrol.’’
Sex workers on the streets of Lagos told the BBC that the group’s report was accurate. ‘’They pick us, some of them beat us, they will go to third mainland bridge, they will beat us, rape us… They will make love with us without a condom’’, said one sex worker, adding, ‘’sometimes they will search us and steal our money, and then drop us and run away.’’
Other sex workers describe being attacked by men in police uniform – who appear to come from outside their local area. There are also accounts of women being forced to use sex to barter their way out of police custody.
In a country where bribes guarantee safety, those who cannot pay are at high risk. A culture of police impunity is widely criticised – officers are almost never prosecuted for violent crimes.
Several panels on police reform have been set up in recent years and they have made detailed recommendations for improvement, but little has changed.
A review of the Police Act began in 2004, but the draft bill has been pending since 2006. Nowadays, the police use a slogan to try to soften their image: “Police is your friend.”
But few Nigerians believe it.
Meanwhile, the latest victim of the police in Akwa Ibom, is also appealing to the Nigerian Bar Association, civil society organisations and other civil rights movements to come to her aid and redeem her dignity as a woman, insisting ‘’my dignity as a woman has been trampled upon by the supposed law enforcement agency that should protect me. I seek justice for my abuse.’’
Narrating her ordeal in the hands of the IGP squad, Mrs. Udoh said, ‘’I am a divorcee. I live alone in my compound. Unfortunately for me, I do not have any surviving child and this has cost me my marriage of 18 years. I spend most of my time in the church and my station at Nung Udoe Health Centre.
‘’I was terrified and awoken by heavy bangs on my gate at about 1am on Saturday night and before I could gather myself to see who was responsible for the bangs, I saw men jumping through the fence into my compound. They headed to the front and back doors and immediately started banging the doors. It was at this point that I summoned courage and started making calls to my relations and neighbours for help.
‘’When the intruders heard that I was making calls, they shouted at me to put off my phone and told me that they were policemen. They asked me to open the door, which I refused. My refusal was based on the fact that there has been incessant case of armed robbery in the area for awhile now.
‘’It took the intruders two hours to break into my house by using axes, hammers and broken blocks. They met me inside the toilet where I ran into and they dragged me out and naked me. One of them used his hand to abuse my private part and breasts. He even called me a witch with unattractive private part. I was seriously manhandled. My doors, ceilings and windows were completely shattered.’’
Apparently traumatised by the her encounter with the policemen, the nurse added, ‘’eventually, they asked me to produce my husband and I told them that I am a minister with Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministry and that my husband divorced me 18 years ago. At that point they allowed me to dress up and later took me outside where two Hilux Vans were waiting with over 20 policemen. I was taken to Nsit Ibom Local Government Area that night. One of them said they should kill me and throw me away that I am a witch but another said it was not yet time.
‘’Amidst the argument, I was taken to B-Division in Ewet Housing Estate, Uyo. I was not told of my offence and crime but was thrown into the cell. So, I was there in the cell for the first time in my life. I was denied access to phone. I stayed there till about 3pm. I got to know my offences, as written on the Entry Board at the station, when I was released.
‘’Robbery and Kidnapping was written against my name, Margaret Etim Udoh. I was asked to put down my statement and that I should include in the statement that I obstructed the police from entering my house and that I allowed the suspect to escape. They asked me to go and report back on Friday. Before I left the station, I overheard one of them saying it was a case of mistaken identity.’’
A member of her family and a retired Superintendent of Police (SP)Antia Umoren, who signed her bail bond, said ‘’the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) cannot say there was no such case. His deputy, who held brief for him, aided me on how to track the IGP-IRT. There were other suspects brought in by the Team from other locations including a man, his wife and their 7-year old son.
‘’The man was seriously tortured. As a retired policeman, it was easy for me to trace my sister in-law to B-Division. In fact, I went to Control Room and narrated my situation to the officers on duty and they assisted me to radio all the police divisions in Akwa Ibom. After awhile, Ewet Housing Estate Division (B-Division) came on air and confirmed that my sister in-law was at the Division.’’
Umoren said the sexually assaulted nurse was seriously manhandled and falsely charged for robbery and kidnapping. According to him, ‘’when I asked to know what she was being charged for, I was told she was charged for kidnapping and robbery. When I got to the station, I saw her name boldly written on the suspect board. When she was eventually brought, tears ran though my eyes because she was seriously manhandled.
‘’I later met with the said IGP-IRT, led by one Akan Joseph. So, B-Division cannot say they are not aware of what happened. The station was on air and responded to the radio message sent out by the Control Room. The records and date are there. Her name was registered on the Prisoner Lockup Register and all the items collected from her including the sum of N137,000 was entered into that register. I was kept at that station till about 4pm. I am talking to you as her surety. I signed the bail bond. I have been a police officer and till my retirement, police have never been assigned to carry axe, sledgehammer and other tools.’’
Spokesman for the Police Command in the state, MacDon Odiko, a Superintendent of Police, is keeping sealed lips on the matter. He rejected the call and did not response to a text message our undercover correspondent in the state sent to him.