How Police Detained NGO Staff, Friend For Photographing A Bribery Scene At Obudu

In Breaking News, National News, Reports

By Ushang Ewa/Itiunbe Atunka

police

Two men, Stephen Apebende and his friend, unnamed spent their Easter holidays in detention for allegedly photographing police officers via their cell phones while extorting road users.

Family sources close to Apebende say he was arrested along with his friend Saturday morning along Ranch road at the police checkpoint just before the residence of Martins Orim, the Chief of Staff to Governor Ben Ayade when the officers on duty alleged he was taking photographs of them demanding money from road users.

Apebende and his friend were reportedly detained Saturday through Easter Monday when the policemen brought in a local tech guru to unlock the seized phones; a Tecno android phone and an iPhone but were later released when family members learnt of their ordeal.

When CrossRiverWatch visited the police station, the DPO was said to be on Easter vacation while the officer at the front desk and the station officer denied knowledge of such while the local tech guru could be heard chatting his friend how he was finding it difficult to unlock the phone as it was locked and needed a password to open it.

It is still unclear what transpired between the police and the detained friends, but a source very close to Apebende who our reporter learnt works with a non governmental organization with focus on HIV/AIDS, reliably informed CrossRiverWatch that it took the pleas of elderly family members to dissuade Apebende who had decided to file a lawsuit and had rejected the offer to walk free with his friend and their phones.

Efforts by CrossRiverWatch to speak with him in person failed as CrossRiverWatch learnt that family members advised him against pitching himself against policemen and further aggravating the situation by talking to the press.

Further findings revealed Apebende and his friend are still recuperating from the shock of spending their Easter holidays as detainees and a family member told CrossRiverWatch that “they were seriously harassed by other inmates.”

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One commentOn How Police Detained NGO Staff, Friend For Photographing A Bribery Scene At Obudu

  • It is no secret that some Nigeria police officers are not only very corrupt but openly engage in lawless activities, such as soliciting and receiving bribes. Regrettably these police officers carry out their illicit activities with impunity. A law abiding citizen who is brave enough to oppugn the unlawful activities of these miscreant police officers run the risk of being brutalized. Such was the case that befell Stephen Apebende and his friend at Obudu as reported by CRWatch who should be commended for their reporting on our societal ills.

    Mr. Apebende and his friend were reportedly arrested and detained by the police officers who were photographed at a checkpoint “demanding money from road users”. For one, the police officers have no right arresting, much less, detaining any person who has not committed an offense without a warrant. On the other hand, Mr. Apebende and his friend, who are not sworn law-enforcement officials, have the right to arrest or apprehend (though they chose to photograph the officers) the law breaking police officers under the citizen’s arrest provision in common law jurisdictions.

    Mr. Apebende and his friend have been wronged by the police officers who arrested and detained them unlawfully and I implore them to engage the services of a fearless very good barrister to file a lawsuit against the police officers.

    It is time we the people put an end to being harassed to pay bribes by the very government officials whose salaries are paid by use (public fund) and who should be fighting bribery.

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