The Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Imo State, Michael Ogar, has accused policemen from18 Mobile Police Force in the state of beating and locking him up.
He said the policemen also damaged his official vehicle and made away with his phones in the Monday evening attack on the NSCDC Headquarters in Owerri.
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He said the trouble began when one policeman, Nonso Ezenwanne, obstructed his convoy on Sunday in Owerri while returning from the scene of the illegal refinery explosion at a Forest in the Abaezi community, Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Area of the state where 110 people were killed.
“As though, that wasn’t enough, he trailed us to Owerri and blocked my motorcade again and brought out a pistol threatening to shoot us but he was later disarmed and arrested,” Ogar said.
He added that the man was detained because he claimed to be a policeman, but with multiple identification cards found on him.
“I had reached out to the former acting commissioner of police, DCP Giwa, to identify the suspect which is the norm, but it yielded no result as he said he had been transferred to Kaduna. We didn’t see anybody to identify him.
“It was on my way to see MOPOL 18 commander, just about 10 meters away from NSCDC office, that I saw eight vehicles that blocked me and started shooting into the air and my vehicle.
“They dragged me out, flogged and battered me, and later took me to their command where they continued to beat me with sticks and baton,” the commandant said.
He said after about three hours, an assistant commissioner of police in charge of operations later came to his rescue and took him home.
“I came back to my office to see the extent of damage caused and then realised that two of my personnel got bullet injuries and were receiving treatment in hospital.
“I told them that this incident is a disgrace to security agencies; I was surprised. I don’t think we are here to flex muscles or pursue work ego but to defend our fatherland. I was highly disappointed and embarrassed by the action of MOPOL 18,” Ogar added.
Narrating his ordeal, the NSCDC Head of Operations, Deputy Commandant Benjamin Nwaokafor, who was receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Center, Owerri, said he only regained consciousness in the hospital.
“I was shot in my hand and left leg. I can’t move them now,” he said. But the police spokesman, CSP Mike Abattam, introduced Ezenwanne as a Superintendent of Police and the Armament Officer of the 18 Mobile Police Force, Owerri.
He said he was driving in his car to Imo Police Command on an assignment when on reaching Control Post Roundabout, there was a heavy traffic jam and drivers were trying to maneuver their vehicles to free themselves from the traffic.
He said, “While the officer was trying to make way for himself, the civil defence personnel who alighted from his rear, hit the police officer’s vehicle violently, shouting and ordering him to remove his vehicle from the road. He replied to the civil defence officer that he was equally trying to see how he can free himself from the traffic, only for the civil defence officer to slap him hard on his face, calling him a stupid man.
“At that point, he alighted from his vehicle and introduced himself as a police superintendent serving at Police Mobil Base, Owerri. It was as if he angered him the more and he gave him another slap and others joined in beating him. The police officer then brought out his phone to put a call to his commanding officer but they seized the phone, rushed into their vehicle and zoomed off.”
He said that the police officer followed them to their office and demanded his phone.
“But they rather dragged him into their office, beat him up and seized his service pistol. After much torture, he was locked up in their cell not minding his plea to call his commanding officer. The officer slept in the cell till the next day.”
Abattam, however, said that the issue had been settled and reassured that the police would continue to maintain the interagency cooperation between them.