The Director General of the National Taskforce to Combat Illegal Importation of Small Arms, Ammunition, Light Weapons and Pipeline Vandalism (NATFORCE), Chief Emmanuel Okereke, has petitioned the acting Inspector General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, over his alleged illegal arrest and detention by the Police while on a courtesy visit to the Force Headquarters.
The petition obtained by Blueprint and dated May 6, 2019, read in part: “I wish to express my displeasure at the way and manner the Police arrested and detained me and 21 members of the NATFORCE while on a scheduled courtesy visit to your office at The Force Headquarters, Abuja, on April 18, 2019.
“Sir, you are aware of an existing relationship between me and you while in Enugu as the state Commissioner of Polive a couple of years ago. Our mission for the courtesy visit on the fateful day was to renew our relationship with you, appreciate you for the gesture of renewing our signal and to marshal out a working relationship between the Taskforce and your office.
“I had also intended that we would use the opportunity of our visit to your office to request a special team drawn from your office to work with in operations across the country. We have handed over so many cases in various Police Commands and at the end of the day there would be no prosecution.”
Okereke, however, stated: “At the Force Headquarters, I and my directors and other officers of NATFORCE and journalists that accompanied us to cover our visit were delayed for several hours until ACP Elema, in charge of IGP Monitoring unit, sent his people to arrest me in the IGP’s conference hall and moved us to Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), where were beaten terribly and some of my men injured to the extent that some of them lost their hearing in the process. Later, I was detained with my officers for 10 days before I was granted bail at Wuse Magistrate Court on April 28, 2019.”
Okereke, who alleged conspiracy against him by some retired senior Police officers and some aggrieved members of Importers Association of Nigeria (IMAN) over the issues of his position as the President of IMAN and DG NATFORCE urged the IGP to avoid dabbling into a matter that could be regarded as subjudice having been decided in his favour at both the lower and Appeal Courts.
“Sir, while I would want use your good offices to carry out a thorough investigation on the allegations levelled against me by the Police and aggrieved members of IMAN, I wish to state that the issues of my position as the President of IMAN and DG NATFORCE has since been decided in my favour at both lower and Appeal Courts to avoid dabbling into a matter that could be regarded as subjudice.
“I think it would have been better that you carry out a thorough investigation on the allegation in addition to inviting both parties involved in the dispute rather than taking sides with the petitioner.
“It may interest you to learn that the sponsor of the petition I question and the actions carried out by your officers against me is one of your retired Deputy Inspector general of Police, DIG Phillimon Leha.
“It is also instructive that former IGP Mike Okiro is sponsoring Mr Leha to become the DG of the Taskfore. They are only using one fake Ambassador Chijioke Okoro as acting DG of the Tskforce without due regard to court rulings on the matter and resolutions of our association.
“I must say with all sense of responsibility that there has not been any election conducted by the association or by resolution of the National Executive Council of IMAN that elevated Okoro as acting DG of the Taskforce.”
He wondered why he was not invited over the alleged petition against him, noting that if the proper procedure had been followed, the embarrassment he suffered on April 18, would have been avoided.