By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN—TWO sisters in Oleh, Isoko South Local Government Area, Delta State, have given a seven-day ultimatum to the Police Service Commission, Inspector General of Police and AIG Zone 5 Benin, Edo State, to institute a disciplinary action against four police personnel servicing in Oleh Police Station, for allegedly brutalizing, maltreating and attempting to murder them while in police custody.
The sisters, Erowo Ekere and Joy Ekere, who gave the ultimatum through their counsel, Mr. Dele Igbinedion, said that they would be forced to take a legal action against the Police authorities if no action was taken against the four police officers.
The sisters also demanded the payment of a N100 million compensation for the alleged Police brutality.
Igbinedion, counsel to the women who addressed journalists in Benin, yesterday said: “I am disappointed that this matter was reported to the Assistant Inspector General of Police Zone 5 since February. No disciplinary action was taken against the four police officers, including a female police sergeant, who used a machete on a civilian.”
However, in his reaction, the Zone 5 Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Emeka Ihenacho, said that he was not aware that the victims petitioned the AIG, adding that they may not have told newsmen the truth of what happened.
But Mr Igbinedion, who accused one of the police woman, alleged to be off-duty at the time of the incident said, “She came on her own volition to the police station and she joined her colleagues to beat the victims and lock them up. We are giving the IG seven days to institute disciplinary action against these four police officers.”
He said, “It is unbelievable that a police officer would attack a woman already in custody of the police with a machete. Our weapons are not machetes but batons and rifles. We do not use machetes. That is a lie concocted by the victims.”
But Mr Igbinedion, who accused one of the police woman, alleged to be off-duty at the time of the incident said, “She came on her own volition to the police station and she joined her colleagues to beat the victims and lock them up. We are giving the IG seven days to institute disciplinary action against these four police officers.
“If after seven days no sufficient, reasonable, commensurate disciplinary action had been instituted against these people, we will drag the police to court. We also expect that within the seven days, the IG will pay these two women who have been brutalized and the five months old baby a compensation package of N100m for the brutalization they have undergone; for the breach of their fundamental rights and for the unlawful detention that they have undergone.
“If the IG ignores this our humble but very firm request, we will institute action against the police authority in court. This sort of impunity by people in uniform cannot be allowed to continue. You cannot use your police uniform to harass people or collect money from them and then detain them after using cutlass.”
One of the victims, who was with their counsel during the briefing said that their problem with the police officers started on December 27, 2016 when one Oke came to their farm and negotiated for 14 birds (at N3000 each) which he wanted to buy, adding that he, Oke reportedly made a phone call whereby the person he wanted to buy the birds for claimed to have bought elsewhere.
However about 4a.m., the next morning, Miss Erowo said that heard a noise and on peeping through her keyhole, she saw Oke, who came to make inquiries earlier, holding two birds and running away with them. She gave him a hot pursuit but he bolted away.
She added that being an acquaintance, she went to his house to make inquiries about his whereabouts when his mother said he did not sleep at home that night, adding that she was able to get his phone number and when she got back home and did a check, she discovered that the 14 birds he had come earlier to buy were missing. She claimed that she tried to reach him on phone but his phone was out of reach.
She disclosed that surprisingly, the next morning, December 28, 2016, he brought the police to arrest her and she had to pay N5000 for bail her self.
She said, “Thereafter, in line with the police order, I made several calls at the station but he never showed up. Thus the Investigating Police Officer, advised me to stop coming until she is called. However, on the day the police called, I was out of reach.
“The next day when I went to the police station with my five months old Melody, my sister’s daughter, Joy, and we were both detained. By 9p.m., when information got to Joy, she went to the station to confirm if I was at the Police station and a DSP ordered that she be detained also.
“As the argument was going on, one of the officers, who was not on duty that day came in and brought out a machete with which she inflicted bodily injury to Joy Erowo, who was holding Melody in her arms. Thereafter, they were detained for four days.
“The matter was eventually brought to the attention of the Assistant Inspector General of Police Zone 5, Benin but the response was lukewarm,” she said.