Executive Director of the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre, Okechukwu Nwanguma, has called on the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Isaac Akinmoyede, to order an investigation into the case of illegal arrest, torture and detention of 16-year-old Chimezie Wisdom.
Nwanguma held that Wisdom was illegally arrested by members of the community's vigilante group led by the Youth Leader, Camilus Ike, on July 6, 2020 and taken before the traditional ruler of Umuoma, Ogbe, Ahiazu Mbaise LGA.
He said the traditional ruler and members of the vigilante group tortured the boy, inflicted grievous bodily injuries on different parts of his body, hit him with sticks and used fire from a burning wood to burn his body in a bid to force him to confess that he was an armed robber.
He also said members of the vigilante group also used machetes to brutalise the boy even as he continuously denied the allegation.
He stated that when the intervention of the police was sought, officers of the Imo State Police Command extorted the boy’s father.
Nwanguma said, “Mr Chimezie Joseph said he went to the traditional ruler and pleaded for the release of his son and the traditional ruler demanded the sum of N5000 from him in addition to another sum of N2500 which he said was in lieu of traditional hot drink for him as a traditional ruler to go and 'beg' the police to release his son.
But it turned out that the traditional ruler merely defrauded him.
“Mr Chimezie Joseph said on one of the days he visited to see his son, Officer Tom directed him to one lawyer identified as Iwu whom he said asked him to bring the sum of N80,000 for him to facilitate the release of his son. He said he had to call his brother who is based in Lagos to send him the money, which he handed over to the lawyer yet his son was not released.
“Officer Tom continued to ask him to bring an additional N250,000 without which, he would not release his son and further threatened that his son will go to jail if he doesn't bring the money.
“Mr. Chimezie Joseph said he had to approach the traditional ruler again, still pleading the innocence of his son and appealing for his release. He said the traditional ruler asked him to give up his 'land or company' or give him the sum of five hundred thousand naira for his son to be released.”
The Executive Director of RULAAC said while processing the bail of the boy, because the boy's father did not provide the additional money which office Tom demanded for bail, he threatened that he would re-arrest the boy and hand him over to SARS.
He stated that the boy find was still bearing untreated serious bodily injuries.
“He needs serious medical including psychological rehabilitation.
“He said he was detained bare-bodied and was untreated of the injuries and hardly ate or had any bath during the period of 16 days of his unlawful detention,” he said.
He urged CP Akinmoyede to investigate the conduct of officer Tom for indefinite detention, inhumane treatment, intimidation and extortion of bribe.
“He should return all the money he and his lawyer-ally extorted from Mr Chimezie Joseph.
“We also call for an investigation of the activities of the the traditional ruler of Umuoma, Ogbe, Ahiazu Mbaise LGA Eze Patrick Ihuoma, and members of the community vigilante group led by the Youth Leader, Camilus Ike, for extortion and torture,” he added.