By Ushang Ewa
Detained Mr. Ifere Paul whom the Cross River Police Command claims is being held over suspected links to the underground world was yesterday grilles by detectives in the anti-kidnapping unit of the Command’s Criminal Investigation Department.
Mr. Ifere was arrested late Thursday by detectives from the state police command led by one officer named “Abangson’ who boarded a flight to Abuja in what his lawyer described as a “Gestapo styled” arrest and drove all night, arriving Calabar at about 3:00AM on Friday CrossRiverWatch gathered.
And, he was yesterday grilled by detectives at the SCID, Diamond Hill Calabar after his case file was transferred there with a Police source informing CrossRiverWatch that the questions revolved around Ifere’s prior knowledge of some criminal activities in the state before they happen.
“He use to post information on his Facebook wall about some criminal activities like robbery and kidnapping in the state before they happen. The Police is interested in knowing what is his connection with those kidnapping gangs. So that was the thrust of our interrogation,” said the source.
This is even as a senior Police officer who did not want his name in print told our source who went undercover at the SCID that: “I don’t really see this case as a criminal case. It is rather a political case. The attitude of our officers in charge is clear that this is political.
“The CP is not around. He is in Abuja. Let him come back and let us see his own attitude to the case but so far, I don’t think that Facebook post alone is what will warrant this kind of seriousness and hostile moves we are seeing in this case. But like I said, let the CP return.
“And I suspect that before he will return, Ifere will already be in Afokang. It’s just that they finished late Friday. They had already called the CJ. They want to just frame any charges based on his statement and charge him before any magistrate and remand him. But they finished late. They will do that on Monday. Police want to remove pressure from us to the court.”
The new Chief Judge of the state, Justice Michael Edem is said to have questions hanging around him due to his role in the stalling of a murder case against 14 police officers in the Special Anti-Robbery Squad who allegedly murdered in cold blood, one Derek Maurice Ben as well as 5 others and sold their corpses to the anatomy department of the University of Calabar for NGN10,000.
He was sworn in as Chief Judge of the state on Thursday by Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade.
Also, CrossRiverWatch gathered that the State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress APC, Mr. John Ochalla, visited the command in company of another party chieftain, Barrister Utum Eteng, but were delayed for hours, till evening, before being allowed to have a brief audience with Ifere.
The female Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP, in charge of the matter was very livid with the officer that directed the APC stalwarts to her office CrossRiverWatch gathered.
But, the Commissioner of Police, CP Hafiz Inuwa when asked if the case had political affiliations, said that he does his job as a professional.
Mr. Ifere had a few weeks back alleged that some state actors were after his life and petitioned security agencies as well as the Attorney General of the federation and mentioned the Chief of Staff to Mr. Ayade, Martins Orim, the State Security Adviser, Jude Ngaji and Mr. Ayade’s younger brother, Frank Ayade in his petition.
His request for investigation was granted with the Attorney General writing to some security agencies to investigate the matter as reported by CrossRiverWatch.
Also, The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Cross River State, Barrister Joe Abang had in 2016 declared Mr. Ifere wanted over similar allegations which the Police denied.