By Inyali Peter
The Coalition of Civil Society Groups in Nigeria (COCSGIN) has called on the Police authority to immediately sack the Cross River State Police Commissioner, CP Hafiz Mohammed Inuwa for alleged professional misconduct and suspected compromise.
The organisation accused the Police Commissioner of conniving with the state government to “illegally” arrest and detain an activist, Comrade Ifere Paul.
Ifere, a social media activist who constantly criticised the policies of Governor Ben Ayade administration, alleged financial misappropriation as well as the security situation in the state was arrested on Thursday in Abuja and driven all night to Calabar and has since remained in Police custody.
But COCSGIN in a statement by its national coordinator, Comrade Iso Bassey Edim described his arrest as a show of shame and calculate attempt to intimidate and harass activists in Cross River State.
He said that “We condemn in strong terms the Gestapos-stlye arrest of Comrade Ifere Paul, an activist who has uncover so many irregularities and fraud going on in Cross River State government. His arrest and detention is nothing short of a calculated attempt by the state government in connivance with the Police authority in the state to intimidate, harass and persecute activists in the state.
His Gestapos style of arrest is most regrettable. Ifere is based in Abuja. He has series of petitions in EFCC, ICPC and IGP’s office against officials of Cross River State government. Recall that he was the one who dragged the Governor younger brother, Frank Ayade to EFCC. on Thursday, he was invited to defend one of his petitions on getting there, he was bundled like a common criminal and driven all night to Calabar.
The critical questions is, who sponsored the Police operatives who came from Calabar to arrest him in Abuja? Why was he denied access to his lawyer and has not been allowed to see anybody till this time? Who is the CP working for?
This should not be happening at a time the world is glamouring for protection of Human Rights. Clearly, the Police Commissioner has compromised professional ethics by getting himself entangled in the Politics of Cross River State. This is the height of unprofessional conducts and we want to demand his immediate removal”.
He added that “We want to state unequivocally that we will not accept anything less but his sack because Ifere arrest is one of many other issues hanging on his neck. Hon Paul Adah raised alarm of gun scare in his Calabar residence, the suspects who drove in Government official vehicle were released less than 30 minutes of their arrest.
An activist and our member, Barr Joseph Odok escaped assassination and the suspects are working freely in the streets of Calabar because they are officials of the government.
Despite several court order restraining the Police from harassing or disrupting Peace Corps activities, the Commissioner of Police has continued to send his men to harass and disrupt their activities. This complain has reached our office too.
We see this acts as a total violation of Section 33 of the Nigerian Constitution that provides for fair hearing and Fundamental Human Rights and Article 3 of the African Chartered on Human and People’s rights. We are marvelled at the actions of the Police and therefore demand that the Commissioner, CP Hafiz Inuwa should be sacked with immediate effect”.