Policemen working with the Divisional Police Officer, Awgu Police Division, CSP Benjamin Ugwui, have reportedly brutalised and broken the hand of Ikechukwu Uduji, a man who was arraigned with his boss, Ikechukwu Okolie, on a trumped-up charge of attempted murder.
Pictures of the police attack on both Uduji and Okolie which KOKO TV NG obtained on Wednesday, showed the broken left hand of Uduji at the prison custody in Enugu State.
KOKO TV NG had on Monday reported that the Enugu State Commissioner of Police, Kanayo Uzuegbu, ordered the arrest and arraignment of one Ikechukwu Uduji (23) and Ikechukwu Okolie (38) for allegedly writing a petition against his Divisional Police Officer in-charge of Awgu Police Division, CSP Benjamin Ugwui for extortion and demand for refund.
KOKO TV NG had reported that Ikechukwu Okolie and someone working with him, Ikechukwu Uduji were arrested on Sunday, October 29 after the child dedication of his nephew following his refusal to dissociate himself from a petition alleging police extortion.
They were detained at the Awgu Police Station after they were tortured and brutalised for two days and on October 31, they were arraigned before Magistrate P. U. Igwilo of the Awgu Magisterial District Holden at Mgbidi on trumped-up charges of attempted murder and serious assault on four policemen who reportedly brutalised him.
In a five-count charge marked No: MGB/71c/ 2023 which KOKO TV NG obtained on Monday, the police commissioner claimed that the two accused persons had conspired to kill four policemen on October 30 at about 6 p.m. along General Hospital Road, Awgu within Awgu Magisterial District.
Meanwhile, a senior warder with the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS), who spoke with KOKO TV NG on condition of anonymity, said that the duo of Uduji and Okolie were brought to prison in a near state of coma wondering why a Magistrate would not order the police to treat their victims before sending them to the correctional centre.
The senior NCS officer accused Magistrates in Enugu State of being complicit in the human rights abuses by police personnel in the state, adding that their cooperation with the police has emboldened their impunity.
KOKO TV NG had reported that Okolie accused the Enugu Police Divisional Officer of extorting him for daring to seek justice against an operator of a Point of Sale (POS) machine whom his station failed to investigate over alleged N300,000 theft.
Okolie had told KOKO TV NG through a human rights activist, one Charles Arukwe that he was extorted after reporting to the police that a POS operator, identified as Sunday, aka Full Bar, fraudulently debited N300,000 from his account without his authorisation.
According to him, the incident happened sometime in August 2023, when he went to cash N30,000 from the operator. Shortly after the N30,000 he went to collect was debited, he received debit alerts of three withdrawals in quick succession of N100,000 each, bringing the total to N300,000 illegally withdrawn from his account.
Okolie said he went back to the POS operator to demand an immediate refund of the money to his account.
He said, “I told him that I was going to report him to Awgu Police Station but Sunday denied it and told me that if I reported him, he would leave the police station as soon as I left the station and that nothing would happen to him. He was bragging because he hails from the same town as the station’s DPO (Divisional Police Officer) – Isuochi in Abia State.”
Okolie said he reported the matter at Awgu Police Station.
“The police asked me to pay N 20,000 for entry and opening of file and an additional N36,000 before an arrest could be made. I gave them N56,000.
“Mr Sunday was later arrested with his POS machines but he was released without any investigation as he had boasted to me. Because of the way the DPO and his DCO handled the matter, I was forced to report the matter at the Anti-Kidnapping Unit in Enugu.
“Immediately, Mr Sunday was invited and asked to come along with his POS machines, but he refused to bring those machines. Rather, he offered and paid the money into my account.”
Okolie further revealed that after they left the Anti-Kidnapping Unit and returned to Awgu, Mr Sunday went back to Awgu Police Station and reported to the DPO what happened at the unit in Enugu.
“Immediately, the DPO ordered my arrest and I was consequently arrested with my boy. We were detained for hours before we were later released after I was forced to transfer N35,000 to the personal account of the DCO, Sp. Kelvin Ugwu with Account Number 0725545010 domiciled with FCMB on September 19, 2023,” he had revealed.
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