By Chiaka Opara
Enugu—A member of the Enugu State chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, Mr Callistus Ebue has petitioned the Police over alleged harassment and intimidation by a female police officer following his refusal to bribe her. Ebue said that the police woman who was investigating a case of alleged “misdemeanour and conduct likely to cause a breach of public peace,” brought against him by one James Oparaekeocha, has asked him to pay some money into her personal account in a commercial bank or face prosecution for a more serious offence.
In a petition against to the Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG, Zone 9, Umuahia, Ebue wondered what “the nexus connecting official police work and the private bank account number of the Investigating Police Officer, IPO.” The petition signed by Ebue’s lawyer, Mr Chukwujama Eze and dated December 16, 2015 read in part, “We, the solicitors to Mr. Callistus Ebue of the Enugu state council of the NUJ hereinafter referred to as, our client and on whose behalf and instruction we address you this petition to complain bitterly as follows:
“That Ogwuru Onyinyechi is the IPO, investigating a petition alleging misdemeanour and conduct likely to cause a breach of public peace brought against our client at the Zone 9 Police Headquarters, Umuahia by the former caretaker committee chairman of the Council, Mr. James Oparaekeocha.
“In the discharge of her official assignment, the IPO, has thrown caution to the wind and shown herself incapable of divorcing her personal bias against our client through the following professional misconducts: “She vehemently rejected and refused to admit in evidence, some relevant documents tendered by our client in self- defence for no just cause.
“She has refused to restrict herself to the allegation of misdemeanour and conduct likely to cause a breach of public peace and has ignored all advice that the case is a civil land dispute. She openly boasts that the complainant told her that both the complainant and the suspects chopped money so I must get my own share of the loot. For her own share of the imaginary loot, the IPO has been harassing the day light out of our client by demanding money to visit the land in question which she calls scene of crime.
“She has sent members of the land committee a Short Message Service, SMS, from her MTN network containing her bank detail as follows; … (name of bank withheld) Ogwuru Onyinyechi 2872060008. The details of this SMS have been saved for police investigation. “What is the nexus connecting official police work and the private bank account number of the IPO? Did the AIG direct her to arrest people if bribes were not paid to her as she threatens?
“When our client refused to yield to her criminal extortion and corrupt demands for bribes, she resorted to intimidating text messages, one of which read unedited as follows:am now going to do normal police work since you people are playing with A.I.G am now going to write a letter to your office and personally I will arrest you. is a promise.
“The background to this audacity of Ogwuru Onyinyechi is that our client is the chairman of the Lands Committee set up by the Enugu state council of the NUJ to acquire and sell lands in Enugu for interested members of the union nationwide. The committee opened a bank account into which subscribers paid their subscription fees and all those who bought lands were successfully issued their title deeds, including their respective survey plans.
“While the lands committee was at its assignments, the then caretaker committee chairman of the council, Mr. James Oparaekeocha (the complainant herein) got some subscribers to pay money into another bank account unknown to members of the land committee.“When those who paid money to Mr. Oparaekeocha failed to obtain their title deeds like others did through our client, they dragged Mr. Oparaekeocha to the Enugu State CID.
The case was later charged to court in No MEN/168/2014 COP V. James Oparaekeocha & Anor before his Worship, Mrs Virginia Uzoma of Enugu North Magistrate Court. A photocopy of the charge sheet is hereby attached. “The IPO has refused to advert her mind to the magistrate court case in Enugu and has refused to charge our client to court if she feels that a prima facie case of misdemeanour and/or conduct likely to cause a breach of public peace has been disclosed against our client.
Since then, there has been no respite from the court and several subscribers for refund of their money while his employers NTA has demoted him from manager down to assistant manager. “In frustration, Mr. Oparaekeocha brought a frivolous petition alleging misdemeanour and conduct likely to cause a breach of public peace against members of the lands committee at Zone 9 headquarters, Umuahia where has now formed an unholy alliance with Ogwuru Onyinyechi to prosecute this unjust war.”