A Port Harcourt-based human rights crusader, Justine
Ijeomah, and the Rivers State Police Command is currently enmeshed in a verbal
war over allegations that a senior Police officer serving in the State and
officer in charge of the anti-kidnapping unit, Jovinus Iwu, a deputy superintendent of police (DSP), is threatening his life after being tortured by
policemen on his orders.
The State Police Command has vehemently debunked the
allegation, accusing him of disseminating baseless information to media houses.
Ijeomah, who is the Executive Director of Human Rights
Social, Development and Environmental Foundation (HURSDEF), alleged that, on
November 22, 2012, Iwu and Segun Oni, an
assistant commissioner of police (ACP) in charge of the Swift Operation Squad (SOS), threatened
to kill him.
He said that, on that fateful day, he had gone to the
station in company of one of his staffers, Samuel Robinson, to inquire about
another member of his group who was arrested same day by SOS members. He alleged that in
the process of inquiring why his member was arrested, an officer at the station
became angry and started slapping him.
“The OC held my ear, dragged my left ear the second time,
and injured my left ear. He said we can go and write. Nothing is going to
happen. He said they will deal with me. He said I should watch at what will
happen to us and our members.
According to Ijeomah, another officer also threatened
to shoot him and his members. “He said he will shoot me and nothing will happen. He
repeated it two times and said any day he meets us, he is going to shoot us and
frame up a charge against us and nothing will happen.”
His group therefore, called for investigation into the
allegation, demanding that the perpetrators should be brought to book.
When contacted on the phone, Benjamin Ugwuegbulam, a
deputy superintendent of police and Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in
Rivers State, said that the rights activist had no truth in what he was
He argued that if he was threatened, he should have
reported to the commissioner of police rather than circulating false
information to the press.
Ugwuegbulam insisted that the officer in
question was a credible man who does his job according to the ethics of the
“If he has truth, he should come out and complain to
the Commissioner of Police. I am saying there is no truth in what he is saying,
he should come out than circulating false information to the media.”
Ijeomah had sometimes last year alleged that some
police men from SOS shot at his vehicle four times but that he was lucky to
have escaped after releasing some children from their custody without offering
them bribe money.
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