By Ikeugonna Eleke
A human rights group, International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, Intersociety, has described the arrest and parading of an Anambra businessman, Chief Pius Nweke, for keeping an unlicensed firearm by police last weekend without investigation as a mark of incompetence by the police.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees of the group, Mr Emeka Umeagbalasi, in a statement made available to Fides, said that by parading the businessman in handcuffs and making him hold the gun and bullets and taking pictures of him, the police had reduced him to the status of a common criminal.
Nweke, the CEO of the popular Best Alumunium Group, was arrested in Onitsha on Friday, June 5, while on his way to his office by men of the Inspector General of Police’s Special Tactical Squad (STS), and paraded at the premises of the Central Police Station, Onitsha.
Umeagbalasi said, ‘Our deep grouses against the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, and his “Special Tactical Squad”, are the Gestapo (secret terror state police) and commando styles used in carrying out the arrest.
‘Beyond the aforesaid, the undoing of the IGP and his “STS” personnel was the public parading of the Best Aluminum CEO as if he is a hardened kidnapper caught in the act. This is not only a height of unprofessionalism but also an indication that the Nigeria Police Force is terminally sick,’ Umeagbalasi stated.
The group contended that the police could not come to the conclusion of publicly parading the businessman, after which they decided to commence investigation on the source of the firearm he had.
‘By publicly parading him in such a despicable manner; with his two hands handcuffed and forced to hold a pistol, bullets and a mobile phone; the Police authorities have told the world a different story.
‘This was done by portraying him as a hardened kidnapper caught in the act. The despicable manner with which the Nigeria Police Force arrested and treated the Best Aluminum CEO also gravely violates his constitutionally guaranteed rights to life, dignity of human person, personal liberty and fair hearing; all contained in Sections 33, 34, 35 and 36 of the country’s 1999 Constitution.
‘In the case of the commando styled arrest and caught-in-the-act-kidnapper public parading of Mr. Pius Nweke, the Nigeria Police Force has ended up arresting, judging and finding him guilty,’ Umeagbalasi further stated.
Meanwhile, the indigenes of Abba Community where Nweke hails from, had through the president general of the community, Mr C. Anaekwe, attributed his arrest and hasty parading to the crisis between his community and their neighbours, Ukpo.
Anaekwe alleged that a certain oil mogul in Ukpo was only using the police to silence Nweke who had been giving his community support since the land tussle began.