Police Anti-Cultism Unit Calabar: Matters Arising BY AGBA JALINGO

In Breaking News, CrossRiverWatch Podcast, CrossRiverWatch TV, Opinion

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Citizen complaints about the anti-cultism and anti-kidnapping unit of the Police in Calabar are mounting everyday and it appears no one is ready to pay attention and do something about it. Doing something about it, not just in terms of punishing the errant police personnel involved but to also look into the deplorable condition of that place and the men working there.

I was detained in that dungeon for 34 days. Chained to a deep freezer. First and foremost, the facility does not even have a holding cell to detain suspects. It is a small space under a staircase without even a window, where suspects are detained under very horrible conditions. The tiny space sometimes holds up to 70 suspects. The hot air from inside the improvised cell can bake bread. The whole place stinks like whatever you can think of and the stench extends to the compound outside.

I paid N1500 everyday while I was in detention for “Mai Ruwa” to fill up our drums we had in the cell. The inmates are not fed by the authorities. I was buying 30 plates of “mama put” everyday for the detainees while I was there and it got to a point where they raised prayer points in the cell that God should not let me go again.

The Police used to call bullets “groundnuts.” They buy their groundnuts with their personal money. They are not given by authorities. They buy the groundnuts from civilians o. The groundnut seller used to come to my very before to supply them and they would tear the packs in my front and load their magazines. Civilians also come to sell them statement forms, Police files and other administrative materials.

They do not have any tool with which to do investigation other than crude violence and torture, to extract confessions. Infact, all their documents including sensitive information are typed and photocopied in public business centers. Because of that, I bought the printer and photocopier that the anti-cultism unit is still using till today, while I was still in their chains, because I thought it was not a good idea for the Police to be doing those things outside.

The cops buy their uniforms by themselves. Their service boots and all insignia are bought by themselves. They had just one duty truck at the time and those on duty were the ones tasked to source for money to fuel and maintain the vehicle by themselves. However they do it is none of the commander’s business.

Investigations, if any, are funded by both the complainant and the suspect. Not the Police. The Commander of the unit is under pressure to remit N50k every Friday to the CP. I don’t know if the practice is still on or if the amount has rather increased.

The Police personnel working there are extremely corrupt and very brutish. They are experts in inflicting torture and inhuman beating and they are usually very proud of it, they boast and celebrate with gunfire sometimes. They consider themselves and their actions above the law and are confident that their atrocious acts enjoy official cover.

For now, the unit remains the most dreaded in Calabar both by residents and the criminals. Apart from the urgent need to equip or even relocate the unit from that particular unfit place they currently operate from, the operatives should also be recycled as often as possible including the commander. But for now, there is a need to curb the excesses of the men. Some of them are actually criminals in uniform.

Yours sincerely.

Citizen Agba Jalingo is the Publisher of CrossRiverWatch and a rights activist, is a Cross Riverian and writes in from Lagos.

NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Agba Jalingo and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.

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