Illegal Arrest in the Cathedral, FENRAD seeks Justice

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The attention of Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy and Development, FENRAD, a rights group, has been drawn to a foiled arrest of a worshipper at Christ the King Cathedral, CKC, Aba, on Wednesday, 29 July, 2020, said to have been unilaterally executed by one Inspector John, a police officer attached to Ndiegoro Police Station (Cameroon Barracks) on illegal duty.

Before now, FENRAD has issued releases of illegal policing resulting in most cases to deaths of citizens most recent of these being the deaths that greeted the statewide lockdown, part of Covid-19 protocols. Now, having observed that the wheel of justice has been grinding slowly as to prosecution of the officers involved in all these extrajudicial killings, FENRAD, having documented all the atrocious killings, is willing to help reset the motion of justice; to exhaust all alternatives of justice and redress within its reach. May the world hear.

Let it be stated that, according to reports available, Inspector John did not provide any warrant of arrest; was not uniformed and yet was said to be wielding a gun (which some unconfirmed accounts said he fired inside the church!) all in a bid to bully his way through. This, FENRAD regrets, likened to what happened at Ebem-Ohafia where “drunk” off duty policemen went on illegal and unwarranted operation leading to the death of one Friday Arunsi on Friday, April 17, 2020.

FENRAD believes that the Nigerian police (including Abia State Command) if well funded can do better; competently too. What, however, beggars belief in the force and command is the rate of unprofessionalism men within the rank and file exhibit especially with regards to Abia, Aba in particular. What happened – quite regrettable – on that sad day inside the Catholic cathedral of Aba diocese leading to angry mob wanting to attack Inspector John if not averted could have further escalated tension and worsened police-civil relations.

FENRAD calls on Commissioner of Police, Ms. Jane Agbede, to take note of illegal policing in Aba and also help address same. The use of “catcher”, commandeering of people’s vehicles for unlawful operations, highhandedness and sundry unprofessional conducts today characterize policing in Aba. The time for rejig is now.

FENRAD condemns, in its entirety, Inspector John’s unwarranted arrest operation and recalls that it is not yet up to one month when a policeman said to be attached to an eatery shot dead two citizens, who today is said to be “on the run”, somehow at large, that is.

FENRAD demands that there be an inquiry or investigation into the foiled arrest attempted by Inspector John and if found guilty he should be made to face the law. Nobody, now matter how highly placed is above the law. If Inspector John had found himself in, say, northern part of the country, would he have unlawfully embarked on such unwarranted arrest in a central mosque?

FENRAD, once again, wishes to advise Abians to go about their lawful and legitimate businesses without fear. It believes also in the capacity of the police to do better and that not all the officers and men within the command are bad.

All FENRAD seeks is justice so that such ugly incident does not repeat itself again. Enough said.

Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor
Executive Director
Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy & Development (FENRAD)
Barr. Olusegun Bamgbose
Head Legal Team

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