The Nigeria Police Force's conduct in the forceful arrest and apprehension of Chief Uche Nwosu is shameful, unprofessional and smacks of obstinate hooliganism, and hereby stands strongly condemned. Their mode of arrest has all the markings of kidnappers and ‘unknown gunmen', leaving more questions than answers in the struggle to unravel the latter menace.
As a rule of operation, men of the Nigeria Police Force are not only required to properly identify themselves before making an arrest but must be backed by the force of law in the form of a warrant of arrest properly executed. In the arrest of Chief Uche Nwosu, who interestingly is a former governorship candidate in the state of his arrest, police officers dressed in mufti stormed the victim’s church where they reportedly shot sporadically, scaring churchgoers and putting lives and limbs in danger as many scrambled for safety.
They are further captured in a series of images and videos manhandling their latest victim, Chief Uche Nwosu and brutally herding a bewildered crowd. Their actions portray a lack of training, awareness of the law and due process or irreverent spite for same.
The very nature of the arrest of Chief Uche Nwosu who was neither declared wanted by a competent court nor proven to be evading arrest betrays the political struggle between the state governor and Chief Nwosu's father-in-law, Senator Rochas Okorocha. But by continually lending itself as a tool of political oppression in the power struggle that has consumed Imo State, the Nigeria Police Force is advertising itself as a ‘tout for hire' agency, consumed more by subservience to the abuse of power and clout than by a sense of commitment to the law and due process and this is a truly regrettable state of affair.
If the Nigeria Police Force was an oil corporation digging for crude oil, it would have dug to the core of the earth and beyond it into outer space. Its fascination with outdoing itself in gross levels of unprofessionalism and new lows in its conducts and actions leaves a lot to be desired. The Force is literally littered with hooligans in uniforms and louts who give it a bad name without let, and we must begin to have a conversation about its continuous usefulness the way it is structured to operate.
The bastardisation of the law and due process by the Police Force represents a great threat to the ideals of democracy that we claim to uphold and it is one that is frequently understated. We must now consider drastic actions beyond token disciplinary actions against a few errant officers to a complete overhaul of the Force without regard or favour to any.
In the matter of the Gestapo arrest of Chief Uche Nwosu and the desecration of a place of worship, the Nigeria Police Force erred on the side of the law greatly and this I say without prejudice to the Force's claims against the politician. The purpose of the law is for justice not just to be done but to be seen to be manifestly done. An illegality cannot cure suspicion of criminality, and in fact, lawless conduct in pursuit of a lawful purpose is self-defeating. The Nigeria Police is hereby cautioned to stop subverting the course of justice by their very actions.
Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq. is a Legal Practitioner and Managing Partner at Law Corridor.