Awka – A rights group, the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre, RULAAC, has applauded the new Commissioner of Police in Imo state, Rabiu Hussaini for his recent dispositions, which it noted were aimed at sanitizing the Police Force in the state.
The Imo State Police Command had recently commenced investigations into a report making rounds online where its personnel were reportedly alleged to have extorted the sum of sixty thousand naira from one Victor Aguwah, travelling from the Sam Mbakwe Airport to his home town in Mbaise.
The Imo Police Commissioner of Police, while condemning the incident, had confirmed that the police officers have been identified, arrested and detained at the State Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department (SCIID), where they will be made to face disciplinary action in an orderly room trial (Police Internal Disciplinary Action).
The Command said it has established contact with the victim through his cell phone and he is currently cooperating with the command in seeing that he gets justice.
In a statement, CP Hussaini also assured of the Command’s commitment under his watch, in ensuring that no police officer found in corrupt practices will be spared, promising that the outcome of the investigation and trial public.
Reacting to the development, the executive director of RULAAC, Okechukwu Nwanguma said CP Hussaini is restoring policing in Imo state to the professional path, as against what obtained when former CP Yaro Abutu held sway.
Nwanguma noted that the immediate past Imo Police boss introduced and executed expeditionary and predatory policing in Imo state.
“Under CP Abutu, countless Imo youths and residents were killed in mass police raids and indicriminate and vengeful shootings and arrests.
“Mass raids were frequent and everyone on sight was arrested, detained, tortured, paraded and disappeared or arraigned in court on frivolous and unfounded charges including attempt to overthrown Governor Hope Uzodinma and President Buhari.
“A female police officer revealed to RULAAC researchers on conditions of anonymity that CP Abutu was ordering police operatives to go to neighbourhoods and shoot anyone on sight because they were cheering unknown gunmen who attacked police stations and killed Police officers.
“He reasoned that those who cheer criminals were not different.
“But did they determine those actually involved in the cheering?
“Abutu acted like someone who came to Imo State on a mission to annihilate the youth population in the pretext of fighting IPOB and ESN,” he alleged.
He however observed that Abutu was buoyed in his expeditionary brutality by the IGP’s charge to the police in the southeast to go after IPOB and kill them.
According to him, Abutu became so discredited that the media in Imo State embargoed the Police.
“They no longer attended media briefings and parade of suspects and never reported press releases issued by the Police Command because they no longer believed anything the Police in Imo State under Abutu said.
“They were parading innocent people for alleged offences without evidence.
“Such parades were usually preludes to extrajudicial killings which were rampant.
“There was no single complaint of Police misconduct brought to CP Abutu’s attention that he treated,” he said.
He however observed that the new Imo CP, Husain appears to be different.
“Hussaini sounds and comes across as responsible and responsive to public complaints.
“He appears to be conscious of history and how his actions would be recorded, unlike Abutu.
“He is demonstrating no tolerance for corruption and abuse and appears to be prepared to police with professionalism and integrity,” he said.
In his words, “I think Imo people and the media in the state should give him a chance; support him to change the tone, secure our state and restore our traditional peace.
“I hope, though, that the Federal Government and the Imo State Government would begin to de-escalate and de-radicalise by engaging with legitimate agitators rather than this frequent resort to brute force and militarisation.
“I hope also that agitators go about their actions reasonably, not add to the suffering of the people and be open minded to accommodate sensible conversations about how to resolve our collective problems.
“Opportunistic criminal elements have taken cover under legitimate but needlessly criminalised agitations to commit crimes and make the work of the police even more difficult.”