This article is the report of Edo State Civil Society Organizations, an umbrella body known for fighting human rights abuses in Edo state.
In their recent engagement with men of the Nigeria Police Force, Evbuotubu Division, the group narrated how security operatives oppressed detainees who ought not to be arrested or detained at first instance, and susbsequently demanded the sum of 20,000 naira as ransom or bail fee for the captives to be freed.
EVBUOTUBU POLICE STATION: A REVENUE AGENCY OR A POLICE STATION
The above subject matter is not just an issue to be taken like a pinch of salt, as the police station is supposed to be a place saddled with the responsibility for the protection of lives and property.
Today being Friday 24th September, 2021, we got a distress call from a citizen whose brother was detained at the Ebvuotubu police station since 23rd of September, 2021.
Investigation revealed that the said citizen by name John had an issue with a client who gave him an iron work to do, instead of delivery the job on Monday he delivered it the next day being Tuesday.
Disagreement started when the job owner insisted that John has to use his money to pay the bricklayer since he did not bring the finished work on Monday.
When they couldn’t reach an amicable resolution, they started dragging themselves and the police was invited. Both parties agreed that John should be responsible for the payment of the bricklayer since he could not meet up the previous day as agreed, the police instead of letting them go insisted on detaining both of them.
The other man Immediately had to pay the sum of twenty thousand naira (20,000) to secure his bail. John on the other hand insisted that he should be allowed to go in order to go and fix the job because bail is free. The DCO2 on hearing this told the IPO to throw John into the cell untill he is able to bail himself with the sum of twenty thousand naira (20,000).
All efforts to make the DCO and the IPO realise that bail is free proved abortive, so we had to insist on meeting with the DPO.
At first we were prevented from seeing the DPO in spite the fact that he is a public servant, it took us almost two hours before we were finally allowed to meet with the DPO face to face.
The DPO after hearing the resolution reached by parties asked us to go and meet the DCO2 to release John to us on bail since it was already past constitutional hour. We thanked him and left his office to DCO2 office, on getting there the DCO2 insisted that we must pay for bail, so we in turn told him that we will only pay on one condition which was that he must issue us a receipt of payment for bail.
This really did not go down well with him as he became very angry and told us that we should go home, that if we cannot give him money for bail that he will not release John to us, we then also reminded him that bail is free and if we must pay for bail then he must issue us a receipt. He became very furious and asked us to leave his office, no money no bail he insisted.
Immediately we saw the DPO stepping out of his office, and then we told him that the DCO2 has refused to release John to us, responding, the DCO2 told him that we said he must issue receipt for bail if we must pay, and again the DPO instructed him to release John to us that we are his friends but the DCO2 and the IPO refused, sending us again out of the station, we had to go back again to the DPO office to inform him that we were leaving because it shows that he can’t instruct his officers on civil matters.
However, the DPO had to call the DCO2 again and instruct him behind closed doors to release John to us and by then it was already past six in the evening, making it 36 hours behind bars for insisting that bail is free.
Finally, John was brought out from the cell and handed over to the IPO for her to give him his belongings but the police woman who is the IPO refused to allow him go without paying her one thousand naira at the counter, instead she had to tell us that if we don’t pay the one thousand naira that John won’t be allowed to go because everyone that is bailed from the cell must pay her one thousand naira.
It became another challenge as we told her that we were ready to spend the night at the police station with John because the police station is supposed to be a place saddled with the responsibility of securing lives and property and never a money making agency.
She became very angered and left John there at the counter.
It was the DCO2 who came out from his office and saw us still around had to beg the police woman to please allow John to go.
Finally, John was allowed to go after 36 hours, 45minuites in the police cell all because he refused to pay for bail.
This is just but one of the issues we treat every day. We will never rest until the last man is truly and totally free from the shackles of oppression.
Bail is free and still very free.
Dickson John reporting on behalf of other members of Edo Civil Society Organisations that went for the intervention.
@views exclusive rights: Leftist Aliyu Umweni, Interim Public Relations Officer, Edo Civil Society Organisations, September 24, 2021
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