Police beat ‘innocent’ man to stupor, demand N5,000 from aged mother to feed him

The anti-cult operatives of the Enugu State Police Command have reportedly arrested and beaten to a pulp one Mr Chekwube Nwodo for an undisclosed offence said to have been committed by his elder brother.

The operatives on June 28 invaded Chekwube’s house in the Enugu South Local Government Area of the state, in the dead of night. They broke his door to forcibly gain entrance before beating him till he almost became unconscious.

The operatives, who didn’t offer any explanation before the assault, had beaten the victim to a pulp before one of them thought to ask if he is the first son of the family. It turned out that they had beaten the wrong person.

After discovering they had attacked and beaten up an innocent person, they asked him to produce the suspect.

It was further gathered that when they couldn’t find the brother (suspect), they asked the aged mother to bring N150,000 before they would leave him alone. When the Septegenarian couldn’t raise the money, they took the son away.

When the mother visited the Anti-Cult Squad office at Premier Layout Enugu to see the son, the Officer-in-Charge, Keles Ekeleme allegedly demanded that she pay N5,000 before she could see him or give him food.

Meanwhile, a petition to the state police commissioner, Abubakar Lawal, by Kenneth Osogwu & Associates law firm which was signed by one Mr U.C Obetta, described the police action as unlawful, noting that under the nation’s criminal jurisprudence, there is no vicarious liability in crime.

He called on the police commissioner to respect the human rights of their victim, arguing that “this is the height of injustice intentionally committed against our innocent client”. 

The petition is titled: “Petition To Address The Illegality Committed By Men Of Nigeria Police Force On The 28th Day Of June 2022 Against Mr. Chekwube Nwodo Herein After In This Petition Referred To As Our Client Following His Arrest And Detention At Anti-Cult Premier Layout Enugu In Substitution Of His Elder Brother For A Crime Allegedly Committed By His Said Elder Brother.”                             

It partly reads, “That men of Nigeria Police Force Anti- Cult Premier layout Enugu invaded our client’s house at No 7, Mbaeze st Gariki in Enugu South Local Government Area Enugu State on the 28th day of June 2022, broke his door, entered and forcefully arrested him after panel-beating him beyond recognition and detained him at the above-mentioned address and date first above written till date.          

“That at the point of arrest and when the men of Anti-Cult were beating our client, one of them asked if our client is the first son of Mr. Nwodo, our client’s father, which the response was no.

“That our client’s response got the curiosity of the men of Anti-Cult satisfied that our client was not the person they intended to arrest but because they never wanted to go back empty-handed, our client was arrested in lieu of his brother.                                  

“That when our client’s mother went to Anti-Cult Enugu to see and feed her son on the 29th day of June 2022, she was asked to pay the sum of N5,000 naira which she couldn’t afford the said amount and she was denied feeding nor seeing her son.                     

“That I, Obetta Casmir U. Esq. on the 1st day of July 2022 visited Anti-Cult Premier layout Enugu, introduced myself and requested to have some words with our client and to demand his release from police custody but to my greatest surprise I was asked to go and produce the elder brother to our client before I can be allowed to see nor demand his release from police custody.

“With all due respect sir, this position is unknown to our law.                 

“We appeal that you use your good office to investigate the action of your men and to order the immediate release of our client from police custody since vicarious liability is not known to our criminal jurisprudence.”                      

Obetta further disclosed that when he returned to the Anti-Cult office on July 2, 2022, that Officer-in-Charge personally told him that unless their client’s elder brother comes to his office, their client can’t be released.”

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