Unchecked Police And Army Extortion In Southeast Nigeria: How IGP And His Cohorts Will Pocket N14.1Billion In Five Months (Sep 2017-Jan 2018) From 2900 Roadblocks Using False Biafra Insecurity
(Intersociety & SBCHROs, 5th September 2017)- It is the joint position of the leaderships of Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) and the Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations (SBCHROs) that the real motive behind the recent order by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Kpotum Idris for deployment of thousands of armed police personnel to the Southeast, especially Anambra State; is nothing short of extortion or official daylight armed robbery on Southeast roads. The deployment is also designed to continue to intimidate and psychologically overrun the entire People of the Southeast and the South-south geopolitical zones of Nigeria; formerly the People and the Region of Eastern Nigeria.
From the point of view of security experts and watchers including criminologists, there is no iota of security threats of alarming magnitude in the Region warranting such militarization and police state. That is to say that the three main reasons given by the IGP: Biafra security threat, readiness for the re-arrest of Nnamdi Kanu and Anambra State Governorship Election insecurity; are all dead on arrival and practically nonexistent.
Firstly, there are no political or territorial security threats of regionally and nationally alarming proportions. The traditional security challenges stemming from street crimes of armed robbery, criminal homicide, arson, burglary, abduction, stealing, carjacking, ritualism and domestic violence such as rape; etc are not tackled head on by flooding all nooks and crannies of the Southeast Zone, especially Anambra State with thousands of killer-police personnel and soldiers. Proactive, preventive and intelligence policing with their modern ICT methodologies as well as governmental dividends, cohesion and decency are there to take appropriate care of them, if well harnessed and applied.
Secondly, there is also no iota of Biafra security threats or insecurity in the Zone; comparable to the terrorist and other violent activities of the Boko Haram and the Fulani insurgency groups in the Southeast, South-south and North-central Nigeria in general and the Northeast in Particular. There is also no standing or existing armed rebellion linked to the pro Biafra agitators in the Southeast or South-south with defined areas of violent activities, weaponry and statistics of human casualties and material destructions.
Public assemblies by way of rallies, picketing, street/roadside processions, vigils and crusades are in no measurable to territorial armed insurgency or violent conflict. Public rallies, too, are not policed by battle-ready police personnel or combat soldiers. Police personnel armed with modern crowd control other than rifles with live bullets are globally put in place or created to ensure that such rallies do not lead to breach of public security and peace.
Thirdly, readiness for the re-arrest of Nnamdi Kanu, as another reason given by the IGP for the militarization and laying siege on the Southeast Zone; is nothing short of the usual falsehood and antics of the Nigeria Police Force by giving a dog a bad name so as to hang it. The Nigeria Police Force and its leadership are also notorious when it comes to sensationalism and over sensationalism; especially in matters technically requiring aptness and strategy. From the foregoing, therefore, it is obvious that the Inspector General of Police is being economical with the truth. It is a common street knowledge to every Tom, Dick and Harry in Nigeria and beyond its borders that the Nigeria Police Force has nothing whatsoever to do with Nnamdi Kanu’s arrest or re-arrest.
It is criminal and unconstitutional to re-arrest a citizen awaiting trial who is on judicial bail and has not fled or gone outside the borders of Nigeria; especially in connection with the same alleged crime or offenses under which he or she is awaiting to be tried. All the noises of Nnamdi Kanu’s re-arrest are from the beginning none issue. This is because Nnamdi Kanu and his co-defendants are billed to take fresh pleas on 17th October 2017, which is their next adjourned date; as a result of addition of a new defendant: Mr. Bright Chimezie (POC) way back on 23rd June 2017 by way of amended charge.
That is to say that the continuation or otherwise of Nnamdi Kanu’s bail will judicially be determined on the said date by the Presiding Judge and not the Inspector General of Police. Assuming, but not conceding that Nnamdi Kanu’s bail will be judicially revoked, it is the Judge’s orderly and the personnel of the Nigerian Prisons Service that will re-arrest him in the court room and return him to prison. It is therefore saddening that the person and office of the Nigeria’s IGP does not know these elementary judicial and pre-penal processes. Also by his recent public comments, the IGP has punitively stampeded the Court and its proceedings and usurped the authority of the Court. As a matter of fact, the IGP’s recent comments are contemptuous and jailable.
Fourthly, insecurity of Anambra Governorship Election of 18th November 2017 as a reason for such militarization and police state also does not hold water. As matters of fact, the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigerian Army have by their militarized and war-like operations in the Southeast especially Anambra State instilled fears and psychological insecurity on Anambra electorates; thereby making it difficult; if not impossible for large voters’ turnout come November 18 governorship poll.
With every nook and cranny of the State flooded with armed soldiers and police personnel, there are already palpable fears and feeling of insecurity by Anambra electorates. This is more so when for a citizen to cast his or her vote in Nigeria of today, he or she must queue at a manual polling booth. A situation where registered voters can stay in their houses and secured others and vote using their mobile communication devices is totally nonexistent in Nigeria or any part thereof.
It is therefore totally correct to link the recent massive deployment of armed police personnel and soldiers to the Southeast Zone especially in Anambra State to intensification of raging police and army corruption in Nigeria. From the times past, the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigerian Army had periodically cashed in with flimsy reasons or excuses to flood the Southeast with trailers-load of their armed personnel; only to embark on massive and unchecked roadblock extortions and their associated extra judicial killings and torture.
The US based Human Rights Watch had severally and specifically in August 2010 found an inseparable link between police corruption in Nigeria via roadblock extortion, police return culture and extra judicial killings and torture. Intersociety had in its 11th December 2011 report identified the patterns and trends of ravaging police corruption and brigandage in Nigeria; which also fueled the incessancy of custodial and roadblock killings, maiming and torture in the country.
Grandly, therefore, from the technical analysis provided for this joint statement by the leadership of Intersociety, not less than 11,600 armed police personnel alone have been or are being deployed to the Southeast from this September 2017; out of which Anambra gets not less than 2800 personnel. Intersociety was also informed few days ago by a friendly source closed to security quarters in Anambra State that “from the good authority, more 1400 armed police personnel have been deployed to the State in addition to similar number already quartered and quartering the new 1400 cops has become a difficult task”. The latest police siege on the Southeast is expected to last end of January 2018 to cover Xmas and New Year season roadblock extortions.
It is therefore our credible estimation following the above that there are at least 2800 armed police personnel flooded in all nooks and crannies of Anambra State; especially from the beginning of this month of September; with their major stock-in-trade being mounting of roadblocks, extortion, physical and psychological torture and other inhuman and degrading treatments being visited on the road users as well as expected extra judicial killings. It is also credibly estimated that there are at least 8800 other armed police personnel deployed to other Southeast States of Abia, Imo, Enugu and Ebonyi.
Further breakdown following an updated investigation by Intersociety indicates that there are not less than 700 police roadblocks mounted in every nook and cranny of Anambra State; with the rest of the Southeast having not less than 2200 police roadblocks, bringing the total number of newly created Southeast police roadblocks/extortion points to 2900. These exclude hundreds of army and navy roadblocks in the whole of Southeast. The extortion by the military roadblocks is done using recruited civilians who collect sundry amounts from motorists especially ware conveying Lorries, mini Lorries and commercial buses carrying wares. Each Lorry carrying goods or loads, for instance, is forced to part with N1000 per military roadblock.
Of the five Southeast States, Anambra is the most “lucrative”; followed by Abia and Imo State. In Anambra State, which is highly commercialized and urbanized (blue collar society), the stock-in-trade of the armed police personnel so deployed is mounting of roadblocks and sundry extortion. The police roadblock extortionist squads are routinely divided into four for each patrol/extortion Beat; with each Beat pocketing on daily basis not less than N40, 000; out of which N5000 is “rewardly” pocketed by each of the four extortionist police personnel. The remainder is wired discreetly to police stations/area commands where they are attached “daily returns” for onward transmission and split among their bosses; ranging from DPOs, Area Commanders, MOPOL Commanders, Departmental Commanders, and State CPs to IGP’s office. In the case of Zonal Commands, it is from there straight to the IGP’s office.
While private car owners go through hell passing through roadblocks mounted by these police extortionists; caused by flimsy vehicle papers’ checks as a ploy to extort; the said private vehicle owners get tortuously delayed with flimsy fault findings on their vehicles to make them frustratingly agreed to part with not less than N5,000 each. Commercial vehicles are made to “have their N100 or N200 or N500 or N1000 naira notes handy (depending on the type of vehicle or quantity of loads carried)” few meters away from roadblocks so as “not to waste their time arguing with the police extortionists. In some, if not in many cases, each of the police Beat closes its daily extortion exercise and goes home with as much as N70, 000.
It is therefore the projection of Intersociety, done for the purpose of this joint statement that not less than N40, 000 must be pocketed daily by each police extortionist Beat made up of four police personnel in Anambra State. That is to say that N1.2M is pocketed by same every month and in the next five months, N6M must have been pocketed. Also by five months’ time (September 2017 to January 2018), the 700 police extortionist roadblocks in Anambra State must have returned to themselves, the IGP and his cohorts a total of N4.2B as criminal proceeds arising from 700 extortionist roadblocks in the State.
For the remaining four Southeast States, the average extorting made daily by each of the police extortionist Beat of four armed police personnel is projected at N30, 000 or N66M from the 2200 police roadblocks in the States of Abia, Imo, Enugu and Ebonyi; N9.9B in the next five months from same and a total of N14.1B for the whole 2900 roadblocks in the Zone. In other words, the IGP and his cohorts in five months’ time must have pocketed a total of N14.1B or about $40M from 2900 roadblocks; with Anambra State alone accounting for 700 roadblocks and extortionist proceeds of N4.2B.
The extortionist and other criminal motives behind the recent deployment of thousands of armed police personnel to the Southeast are further heightened by the inglorious and unholy silence of the Presidency and anti grant agencies over weighty and high profile allegations by a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Hamman Misau, against the person and office of the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris.
Senator Hamman Misau had in his press conference held on 26th August 2017 and widely reported by almost all sections of the media; accused the IGP of being brazenly corrupt; to the extent of pocketing N10B monthly and N120B yearly as money for special security provided by the personnel of the Force to corporate bodies and highly placed individuals, including high profile criminal suspects; all without being reflected in the NPF annual budgets of the Federation.
Senator had Misau alleged as follows: “The Police, under IGP Idris Ibrahim, is a cesspool of corruption, nepotism, indiscipline, favouritism,” adding that the Police is now at the lowest level of morale, which must not be allowed to continue in the interest of the ongoing anti-corruption war and urgent need to stem the tide of increasing rate of crime and criminality in the country. The postings of officers in the Force as State Police Commissioners (CPs) or Mobile Commanders are done on the basis of N10million to N15million bribe payment”.
“The incumbent IGP, based on available records and series of petitions and reports from insiders, has no capacity to run the Police, just like the Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Mr. IGP Mike Okiro, who also lacks similar capacity, going by N300million scam and others hanging on his neck since the 2011 during the presidential primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), where he served as the head of the security committee”.
“Specifically, the IGP, on good authority from within the force, collects over N10billion on monthly basis as money for special security provided by men of the Force to corporate bodies and highly placed individuals, including criminals, running to N120billion on year basis without any reflection in Police annual budgets or internally generated revenue.”
It is saddening and alarming that till date; the Presidency that claims and parroting to be “fighting corruption” as well as its alarmist and window dressing anti graft agencies has kept a sealed lip and the IGP has been left off the hook to continue as Nigeria’s IGP.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Email: [email protected]
For: Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations (SBCHROs)
- Comrade Aloysius Attah (+2348035090548)
For: Civil Liberties Organization, Southeast Zone (Southeast CLO)
- Comrade Peter Onyegiri (+2347036892777)
For: Centre for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy (CHRPA)
- Comrade Samuel Njoku (+2348039444628)
For: Human Rights Organization of Nigeria (HRON)
- Engineer Rufus Duru (+2348037513519)
For: Global Rights & Development International (GRDI)
- Comrade Chike Umeh ( +2348064869601)
For: Society Advocacy Watch Project (SWAP)
- Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq. (+2348034186332)
For: Anambra Human Rights Forum (ANHRF)
- Comrade Alex Olisa (+2348034090410)
For: Southeast Good Governance Forum (SEGGF)
- Jerry Chukwuokoro, PhD (+2348035372962)
For: International Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative (ISPHRI)
- Mr. Tochukwu Ezeoke (+447748612933)
For: Igbo Ekunie Initiative (Pan Igbo Rights Advocacy Group)
- Comrade Vincent Ezekwume (+2348171793911)
For: Civil Liberties Organization, Anambra State Branch (Anambra CLO)
- Comrade Nelson Nnana Nwafor (+2348033383708)
For: Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy & Development (FENRAD-Nigeria)
- Comrade Ozor Ugonna Kingsley (+2348138898669)
For: Rural Engagement & Development Foundation (RED-Foundation)