Delta DPO ac­cused of strip­ping 28-year-old woman

The Punch - - METRO - Dele Ogun­yemi, Warri

A28-year old woman, Mercy Okoro, on Mon­day ac­cused the Di­vi­sional Po­lice Of­fi­cer of Ek­pan in the Uvwie Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area of Delta State, SP Asanayin Ibok, of strip­ping her naked and ar­rest­ing her wid­owed mother, Mrs Lucy Okoro, and her sis­ter over a dis­agree­ment with their ten­ant.

Nar­rat­ing her or­deal to jour­nal­ists in Warri, Mercy al­leged that the in­ci­dent oc­curred around 3pm on Fri­day, Jan­uary 10, 2020, when the ten­ant, An­drew Obas, who had re­fused to pay his three months’ rent, in­vited the po­lice to their home.

Ac­cord­ing to Mercy, the ten­ant had been given four months’ no­tice to ei­ther pay the ar­rears of the rent or quit his apart­ment, a no­tice that elapsed this month.

She stated, “We asked him to pack out. In­stead, he brought armed po­lice­men. They shot in­dis­crim­i­nately, dragged my sis­ter on the floor and kicked her. I told the po­lice­men to leave my sis­ter alone. The DPO stripped me naked. He took my wrap­per and kicked me on my but­tocks.

“The po­lice bun­dled my sis­ter and I into their pa­trol van and took us to the sta­tion. It was when we got there that I knew that it was the DPO, who at­tacked me.”

Mercy also al­leged that the DPO slapped her at the sta­tion till she fell to the ground and fainted, adding that a po­lice­woman be­hind the counter also sprayed tear­gas into her eyes.

The vic­tim, who lamented that she was de­hu­man­ised by the po­lice, urged the gov­ern­ment and hu­man rights or­gan­i­sa­tions in the coun­try to take the mat­ter up with the DPO in the in­ter­est of jus­tice, fair­ness and eq­uity.

Mercy’s mother, who was ar­rested along­side her daugh­ters, urged the gov­ern­ment to help them get jus­tice.

Lucy, who cor­rob­o­rated the claims of her daugh­ter, urged the gov­ern­ment to put an end to her ha­rass­ment by the ten­ant.

“Af­ter ow­ing me three months’ rent, Obas said he would not pay and boasted that he would make trou­ble with me. That’s why I said he should leave my house with the ac­cu­mu­lated rent. I went to court and ob­tained a month’s no­tice to quit and served him. Af­ter that, I went back to the court, ob­tained a seven-day no­tice, which I also served him and which elapsed on Fri­day, Jan­uary 10, 2020,” she stated.

Re­act­ing, the DPO, Asa­nenyi, de­nied the al­le­ga­tions lev­elled against him, say­ing, “What they said is not true.”

He stated that he was not around when the in­ci­dent hap­pened let alone strip­ping the young woman naked.

Asa­nenyi said the de­ci­sion of the widow and her daugh­ters to lock the gate against their ten­ant could cause prob­lems.

When con­tacted on the in­ci­dent, the state Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice, Hafiz Inuwa, said a jour­nal­ist had ear­lier called him on the mat­ter and he made en­quiries and dis­cov­ered that the al­le­ga­tions were bla­tant lies.

“It was not even the DPO, be­cause when it hap­pened, the DPO was not even there. We did not record any­thing like this,” he added.

Mean­while, the Na­tional Chair­man of the Hu­man Rights De­fend­ers Or­gan­i­sa­tion, Casely Omonira­bor, said the body got a dis­tressed call that a widow was be­ing man­han­dled over a dis­agree­ment with her ten­ant.

Omon-ira­bor stated, “We sent two of our lawyers to go and find out and we dis­cov­ered that the po­lice stripped the first daugh­ter of the widow. Our lawyers in­ter­vened, but the po­lice didn’t lis­ten to them,” she stated.

Omon-ira­bor stated that Mercy was beaten and marched on un­til she fainted.

“Other po­lice­men were beg­ging the DPO to leave the woman alone, but he re­fused un­til I told him that I took pho­to­graphs of the in­ci­dent and had him on video as­sault­ing the young woman. It was then he said we should set­tle.

“I called the DPO, who said be­cause I was in­volved, he was go­ing to set the widow free. He still de­tained the two girls.”

• Inuwa

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