Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu

By Ovie Okpare

The Delta State branch of the Sand Dealers Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society has petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu over alleged failure by the State Commissioner of Police to enforce a Benin Court Judgement granting members of the group right to dredge banks of the Asaba River.

The sand dealer, however, called on the IGP to raise a special team from his office to come to the state and enforce the judgement following consistent failure of the State Police Command to do so.

Addressing journalists on Wednesday at the Nigeria Union (NUJ) Secretariat in Asaba, the President of the Sand Dealers Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society, Asaba, Mr. David Ossai, accused the State Police Command of having vested interest in the case why it has failed to carry out the said judgement.

The group alleged that the Commissioner of Police in Delta had gone further to flout the directive given by the Inspector General of Police for them (Police)  to enforce the several orders obtained from different courts empowering them with the right of ownership to do dredging business at the river banks in Asaba.

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Ossai further alleged that since 1999, his group has been witch-hunted by State Police and several others who are currently carrying out dredging activities on beaches in Asaba against subsisting court judgements and orders.

He stated that the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) issued the group a license by to conduct business activities but they had been deprived by others and the police from carrying out business activities around the banks of the Asaba River.

The group further lamented that four members of the cooperative had been killed as a result of fabricated petitions against their members, adding that efforts to seek justice for the deceased have been fruitless and the matter now swept under the carpet.

Ossai drew the attention of journalists to a legal advice by the Office of the Inspector- General of Police (IG) dated 3rd May 2019, where the AIG Zone 5 and the Delta State Commissioner of Police were instructed to obey the court order of the Federal High Court of Benin in suit No. FHC/ B/ CS/ 157/ 2000, to arrest the suspects and charge them to court for conspiracy, forceable entry, attempted murder amongst others.

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He disclosed that the continuous arrest and imprisonment of members have been used as means to disorganize them as illegal while unrecognized individuals have taken over their business since 1999.

The group leader further stated that eight members of the group including himself were unlawfully imprisoned in 2011 until they were discharged and acquitted by a court of competent jurisdiction in 2018, after they were denied bail on several occasions. 

He also said that on 26th July, 2019, the AIG in a legal advice tagged “ Case of Flagrant disobedience of orders of the Federal High Court With Impunity Criminal Trespass, Forcible Entry”, directed the Delta State Police to obey the court order.

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According to him, “A total arrest of 53 was made on our members, out of whom we were remanded at the Federal Prison Ogwashi- Uku for 38 times by the Nigeria Police.

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“Some police are stationed in our beaches to protect those who are in unlawful occupation of our beaches, threatening to arrest us if we come close to the beach.”

While appealing to the police authorities, Ossai called on the IG to set up an independent body to ensure the implementation of the directive given and amicable resolution of the matter.

However, the State Police Command has dismissed the allegation, saying that the command was not aware of the said court judgements by the group.

The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Onome Onovwakpoyeya, who spoke on the matter, promised to investigate issue and the ordeals faced by the dealers.


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