Ogoni: Police Confirm Amnesty Report, Sack Ogoni Villages
Policemen, it was learnt, manhandled people from the affected villages, including women and children, while those who ran into the bush were chased.
The AI team, led by Lucy Freeman, who had a meeting with the state Police Commissioner, Mr. Suleiman Abba, at the Police Headquarters in Port Harcourt, the state capital, also condemned the continued detention of about six persons arrested during the raid on Monday December 7 .
Freeman who confirmed meeting with the commissioner disclosed that the police boss had assured him that the detainees would be released.
She said: “It’s a real pleasure that we had a good meeting with the police. The commissioner promised to do something about the detainees today [16 December 2009]. So, we believe that something good will happen.”
Mr. Noel Kututwa was also in the team. The group, acting on instructions from its London headquarters, had visited the affected villages and expressed surprise over the level of damage allegedly by the policemen who were said to have stormed the areas with 19 vehicles and spent a whole day for the operation.
Sources told the Nigerian Compass that after the suspects were arrested, they were later released on bail after the payment of N30,000, but were re-arrested, and detained when the police got information that a team from AI was in the state on a fact-finding mission.
But police spokesperson, Mrs. Rita Inoma Abbey, said that the villages were raided in search of the kidnappers of the mother of Chief Precious Ngelale, a commissioner during the tenure of Dr. Peter Odili, and one-time minister.
It would be recalled that Erwin van der Borght, AI’s Director of Africa Programme, had said that the police were responsible for hundreds of unlawful killings yearly.