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NATFORCE boss petitions IGP over unlawful arrest, detention



Adamu Mohammed

Director General of the National Taskforce on Prohibition of Illegal Importation/Smuggling of Small Arms, Ammunition, Light Weapons, NATFORCE, Dr. Osita Okereke, has written a petition to the acting Inspector General of Police, Muhammad Adamu over his alleged unlawful arrest and detention for nine days by policemen in Abuja.

Okereke was detained along 21 members of the agency on April 18, 2019 for an alleged assault on some policemen reportedly sent for the director general’s arrest on the day he had appointment with the IGP.

His arrest was sequel to an alleged petition by one Chijioke Okoro, who he described as a “self-made ambassador and acting director general of the Taskforce using police to intimidate and hijack the leadership of Importers Association of Nigeria, IMAN  and NATFORCE from me by a cabal”.

After Okereke was accused of assaulting the policemen, who claimed to have lost N33, 000; identity card and mobile phones worth N700, 000, he was detained at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS head office in Abuja where he was allegedly tortured before the matter was charged to the Wuse Magistrate Court on April 28.

In the petition, dated May 6, 2019 and copies of which were sent to the Presidency, Director General of State Security Service, SSS and Director General of National Intelligence Agency, NIA, Okereke urged the IGP to use his “good offices to carry out a thorough investigation on the allegations levelled against me by the policemen and some aggrieved persons in the Importers Association of Nigeria”.

He explained that the issue of his position as the president of IMAN and director general of NATFORCE, “has since been decided in my favour at both the lower and appeal courts”.

“To avoid dabbling into a matter that could be regarded as subjudice, I think it would have been better that you carry out a thorough investigation on the allegation in addition to inviting the parties involved in this matter to your office to get the facts on the dispute rather than taking sides with the petitioner”, he added.

According to him, “his detention is unlawful and an abuse of his fundamental human rights saying it is unconstitutional for the police “to detain him for more than 24 hours over alleged petition against him by an impostor”.

Okereke, who listed a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, DIG, Phillimon Leha, among sponsors of the petition against him, also accused Force Police Public Relations Officer, FPPRO, Frank Mba of given false information to the media that he was remanded alongside his members in Kuje Prison over the matter.

He further explained in the petition that his travails started when some “detractors” sensed that a bill on conversion of NATFORCE to the status of a National Commission is currently at advanced stage of passage on the floor of the Senate.

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