The Imo state commissioner of police, Chris Ezike, has detained three policemen attached to the Anti-Cultism Unit of the command for allegedly threatening to frame some journalists and collecting a N10,000 bribe from them on Sunday.
The CP, who confirmed the development on Tuesday, said he had given the deputy commissioner of police in charge of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department seven days to conclude investigation into the matter.
Ezike said the policemen would face an orderly room trial if found culpable of the allegations.
He said: “The three policemen are in detention now. I have directed the DC SCIID to investigate the matter.
“I have equally directed him to reach out to the complainants, because as we speak, nobody has reported the incident apart from what we saw in the media.
“The inspector general of police is passionate about discipline and excellence. The allegation is corruption with impunity.”
It would be recalled that some policemen had arrested some journalists on Sunday in Owerri, namely Juachi Ochu, (www.profjay.com), Matthew Okache (www.voplink.com), Williams George (www.touristtv.com) and Trinity Jesam (detailing cross river) and demanded that they should part with the sum of N10,000 before getting their freedom.
The victims are members of the Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria (OMPAN) who attended the association’s national convention in Owerri between March 30 and 31.
The DailyBells reports on Easter Sunday some OMPAN members who were on their way to board vehicle going back to their different destinations, were arrested by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad obstructed their movement.
Narrating their ordeal in the hands of the police, one of the victims had stated; “At about 10:30am on Sunday, on our way to the park to board a vehicle going to our different destinations, we were accosted by men of Special Anti-Robbery Squad. After checking our papers and every other documents, we were asked to follow them to their station (State CID) opposite IMO State Government house”
According to the arrested journalists, another thorough search was made on them and nothing incriminating was found.
“So, we asked for our release and one Inspector Uche, who happens to be the leader of the gang insisted on giving them money, probably after having a feeling that we were all in a hurry to go back to our family after a stressful and successful national convention of Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria OMPAN in Owerri.”
“We pleaded with them to let us go as we are law abiding citizens of federal republic of Nigeria but all our plead turned into deaf ears as the inspector refused to listen to us”
“Inspector Uche who is the head of the gang of SARS on operation threatened to jail the journalists and indict them with a criminal offense if they (OMPAN members) do not give them money.
“This sound like they (corrupt SARS officers) after getting information that the Imo State chief of staff played host to journalist yesterday in a gala night at Westbrook hotel may think the Chief of Staff might have spoiled the OMPAN members with money.
“We were advised to make use of the ATM, which I was made to stay back at the station as a collateral while my colleagues went to the ATM to make withdrawals.
“They left for the ATM and came back with some cash which was handed to the officers in the attached pictures above.”