‘Civilian DPO’ and reign of terror inside Aba police station •How CP Okon smashed ring

Posted by News Express | 29 December 2019 | 1,123 times

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• CP Ene Okon
Ndiegoro Police Station in Aba, Abia State, over the years, gained notoriety for allegedly abusing the rights of citizens. The station was known for indiscriminate arrest of residents, extortion, torture and other activities that aggravated the ‘bad image’ of the police.

For traders, tricycle operators and other residents of Aba, the fear of Ndiegoro Police Station was the beginning of wisdom.

At the station located on Cameroun Road, Aba, one could be detained for as long as the police desired.

A ring of hoodlums who were used by the police to arrest residents always clustered round the station.

The situation was not helped by the presence of numerous drinking bars around Ndiegoro.

Policemen were always seen spending their duty hours at the drinking pubs.

Other activities that the station was known for include the use of civilians (catchers) to arrest residents, illegal detention of residents, unlawful arrest of residents at night, harassment of tricycle and bus operators, drinking in nearby bars and joints while on duty, congested cell and crowded premises.

A man, known as ‘Civilian DPO’, operated a syndicate who arrested residents and detained them at the station until they paid for their release.

“The ‘Civilian DPO’ and his boys could arrest you without reason; detain you until you pay money. What baffled me was that such impunity was happening in a police station in connivance with the police.

It didn’t matter whether you committed any offence or not”, a man who claimed to have been a victim at the station said on the condition of anonymity. For tricycles and commercial bus drivers, no week passed without them being arrested and detained at Ndiegoro on flimsy excuses.

It was common sight to see a detachment of policemen from the station arresting them and detaining them and their tricycles and buses at the station until they bailed themselves.

Such was the reason the station was always crowded with tricycles and overflowing cells. In the last five years, no fewer than 30 policemen who were transferred from the station found their way back there.

However, the situation has changed with the determination of Abia State Commissioner, Mr. Ene Okon, to turn the station around.

Okon said that he decided to address some of the alleged bad practices at Ndiegoro Division which had brought bad publicity to the police.

“I carried out a reorganization of the Ndiegoro Division. I put a stop to those things that are bad, giving the police bad image”, he said.

“Any policeman that has been there for five years and above was transferred out and will not be allowed to return. I don’t want to hear anything like ‘catcher’, using civilians to go for police patrol or arrest.

“The negative effect was telling on the police. I have banned the use of ‘catchers’; some of them went about using the name of the police to extort money from people. They were damaging the image of the police. It is better we do away with them than continue to damage our own image. “

Confirming that the evil days are gone at the station, a tricycle driver, Mr. Cajetan Ogwu, who plies the Ngwa Road by Mosque Road route said that for the past two months, he had not seen any policeman arresting a tricycle driver or taking his tricycle to the station.

“Ndiegoro Police Station has been a nightmare to tricycle drivers. But from what we have seen, there is a positive change. Before now, it was one week, one trouble with policemen. You must settle them or risk detention and your tricycle impounded.

I pray that the change is sustained.” A police source in Aba said that the new era at the station is traced to the commitment of the Commissioner of Police to change the face of notorious Ndiegoro Police Division.

The source disclosed that the Area Commander, ACP Peter Opara, and the new Divisional Police Officer, DPO, transferred to the station, SP Ayang Alphonsus, had worked to implement the directives of the CP.

“Catchers are no more allowed at Cameroun Barracks. The CP has finally put an end to that. There’s a serious cleansing going on in that station now and it’s for the good of everyone”, he said.

“More than 40 police officers who have overstayed in that station and were almost becoming landlords have been transferred as the cleansing continues both on personnel and attitude.

“Before their transfer most of them were even arrested while drinking at joints and bars. You can go there and see that those bars now close before nightfall.

“That vigilante team, with the ‘Civilian DPO’, who engaged policemen and hoodlums causing problems, has been sent packing.

All the tricycles that they usually seized from operators and which they parked all over the station have all been returned to their owners. (Sunday Vanguard)


Source: News Express

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