By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Judicial Panel of Investigation on Incidences of Police Brutality in Akwa Ibom State, Uyo has ordered the leader of the disbanded IGP Intelligence Response Team, DCP. Abba Kyari to appear before it over an allegation of abuse of fundamental rights, extortion and false accusation by one Maxwell George Edum.
The petitioner, Mr Edum who is also a car dealer, in a memo, JPPB/memo/132 narrated to the panel on Monday how a team of Special Anti Robbery Squad supposedly at the instance of DCP Kyari led by one Inspector Friday whose operational code is MadDog invaded his car stand at No.164 Eket/Oron road, Eket and impounded his two vehicles, a Toyota hilux and a Toyota Tundra truck.
He said the team also arrested his staff, Mr Sampson Etukudo and took him alongside the vehicles to a police station in world bank Umuahia, Abia State where he was detained over an allegation of the company buying stolen vehicles.
He further said during the period, he was at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu for a heart surgery, but directed his lawyers from office of Onyeama Onyeama and Associates to follow up the matter even as he furnished them with documents of the said vehicles
According to him, “my lawyers traced them to a police station in Abia State and demanded for the release of my staff and the two vehicles after presenting the documents of the vehicles, but, Maddog said we should bring Five Hundred Thousand Naira for the release of Sampson alone while withholding the vehicles. But my lawyers refused to negotiate payment with them but to go to court.
“When they returned to Eket without Sampson, Sampson’s family became worried because of the inhuman treatment meted on him in the police custody, they said I would be held responsible if anything happens to their son.
“One of the lawyers, Udoanwan Sambo was later sent to Abia State to know the situation of things and Maddog insisted on the payment of One Hundred Thousand Naira for Sampson’s release and another two Hundred Thousand Naira for the release of my vehicles. I was forced to pay the first One Hundred Thousand Naira for Sampson’s release. Then I later sent One Hundred and Seventy Thousand through Udoanwan Sambo’s Stanbic IBTC account no who in turn transfered to a nominated account by Insp Friday, a First bank account no 312742593 with the name , Chigbo Esther.”
He said, the Inspector infuriated by the underpayment, directed that the vehicles should not be released adding that, that was the period he went back for his cancer therapy in UNTH Enugu and could not leave the hospital because the doctors had warned against such attempt.
The petitioner said he was later discharged from the hospital, and on the 24th of April 2020 during the lockdown due to CoronaVirus Pandemic, the Inspector invaded his house, broke his iron protectors and dragged him like a common criminal. He said he had to call the DPO of Eket Division who quickly intervened and later became interested in the matter.
The DPO according to the petitioner asked Inspector Friday to allow him complete his treatment until the lockdown was lifted which he obliged.
He told the panel that after then, the Inspector had inundated his cellphones with pictures he snapped with Gov.Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State and that of the presidency with accompanying messages that the Governor was in support of what he was doing.
He further told the panel that on the 9th July, 2020, Inspector Friday came to Eket, at the DPO’s office with an acclaimed suspect who supposedly sold the stolen vehicles to him, proceeds of a kidnap incident in which the victims, a husband and wife were murdered He said the Identification and interview before the DPO was full of absurdities, contradictions and ‘a mockery of what police investigations should be like, adding, ‘I have never met this mysterious car seller in my life’ as the suspect could not identify him if not for the help of a pointer in Insp. Friday’s team
He said when the DPO and his lawyers asked the suspect when he sold the vehicles to him, he answered, ‘it was early 2019 and that I paid the money to him through the account of one Chinasa and the DPO asked for the full identity of the said Chinasa, the Inspector interrupted that Chinasa was dead and that was how he said every other persons they mentioned their names had died.
“Even the period he said he sold the vehicles to me, I was in India for a major surgery and how could I have been there and be buying stolen vehicles here and the DPO dismissed the matter.
“But Insp Friday said he was not answerable to anyone, only DCP Kyari, who was behind the matter. The Inspector later called me one night and asked me to go to Umuahia for my vehicles which I did. But again he said he would not release the vehicles to me because my lawyers refused to advise me properly by giving him the complete money. He said the only option was for me to give him one of the vehicles and take one.
“I was highly annoyed with such utterances, I refused to do such, though I’ve told my lawyers to sue him but I didn’t have the resources to follow up the case because my health has deteriorated, customers had stopped coming to my car stand because they felt every car in the stand was stolen.
“For men of SARS, owning a flashy car especially hilux truck is an offence that can claim your life. I am alive today is by the grace of God and the intervention of my lawyers whose presence restrained them from taking my life but could not release my hilux vehicles till today.” He said
After the petitioner’s account, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Ukana directed that DCP Kyria appear before the panel and the matter was adjourned to February 9, 2021.