By Darlington UDOBONG
Mrs. Margaret Etim Udoh, a divorcee and Senior Nursing Officer at Nung Udoe Health Centre, has petition the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, over sexual assault, mutilation and abuse by men of the IGP Intelligence Response Team (IRT) who invaded her resident at St. Christopher Avenue, Nung Udoe, Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom, at about 1am on the night of Saturday, April 13, 2019.
Mrs. Udoh further called on the Nigerian Bar Association, Civil Liberty Organization and other civil rights movements to come to her aid and redeem her dignity as a woman, saying “my dignity as a woman has been trampled upon by the supposed law enforcement agency that should protect me. I seek justice for my abuse.”
Narrating her horrible experience in the hands of the IGP Team, Mrs. Udoh said “I am a divorcee. I live alone in my compound. Unfortunately for me, I do not have any survival child and this has caused me my marriage of 18 years. I spend most of my time in the church and my station at Nung Oku Health Centre. I was terrified and awoken by heavy bangs on my gate at about 1am on Saturday night and before I could gather myself to see who was responsible for the bang, I saw men jumping through the fence into my compound. They headed to the front and back doors and immediately started banging the doors. It was at this point that I summoned courage and started making calls to my relations and neighbours for help.”
“When the intruders heard that I was making calls, they shouted at me to put off my phone and told me that they were policemen. They asked me to open the door, which I refused. My refusal was based on the fact that there has been incessant case of armed robbery in the area for awhile now,” Mrs. Udoh added.
“It took the intruders two hours to break into my house by using axes, hammers and broken blocks. They met me inside the toilet where I ran into and they dragged me out and naked me. One of them used his hand to abuse my private part and breasts. He even called me a witch with unattractive private part. I was seriously manhandled. My doors, ceilings and windows are completely shattered,” she maintained.
Still traumatized by the her encounter with men of the Nigerian Police, Mrs. Udoh continued by saying, “Eventually, they asked me to produce my husband and I told them that I am a Minister with Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministry and that my husband divorced me 18 years ago. At that point they allowed me to dress up and later took me outside where two Hilux Vans were waiting with over 20 policemen. I was taken to Nsit Ibom Local Government Area that night. One of them said they should kill me and throw me away that I am a witch but another said it was not yet time.”
“Amidst the argument, I was taken to B-Division in Ewet Housing Estate, Uyo. I was not told of my offense and crime but was thrown into the cell. So, I was there in the cell for the first time in my life. I was denied access to phone. I stayed there till about 3pm. I got to know my offences, as written on the Entry Board at the station, when I was released. Robbery and Kidnapping was written against my name, Margaret Etim Udoh. I was asked to put down my statement and that I should include in the statement that I obstructed the police from entering my house and that I allowed the suspect to escape. They asked me to go and report back on Friday. Before I left the station, I overheard one of them saying it was a case of mistaken identity,” she explained.
When contacted for further confirmation about the incident, the DPO in-charge of B-Division, denied having any record of the suspect in the station’s registers.
Though the DPO confirmed that the IGP-IRT were in the state for various operations, he refused to speak further on the matter with a promise that he will do a thorough check and report same, which he never did.
A female police Sergeant at the entrance, one Mfon, confirmed that the suspect was brought in by the IGP’s team on Saturday night but uncomfortably refused to speak further, adding “Bro, that woman matter, hmmm, na Abuja matter oh. Our own na sidon look.”
Reacting to the incident, a member of the family and a retired Superintendent of Police, SP Antia Umoren, who signed the bail bond, said “The DPO cannot say there was no such case. His deputy, who held brief for him, aided me on how to track the IGP-IRT. There were other suspects brought in by the Team from other locations including a man, his wife and their 7-year old son. The man was seriously tortured. As a retired policeman, it was easy for me to trace my sister in-law to B-Division. In fact, I went to Control Room and narrated my situation the officers on duty and they assisted me to radio all the Police Divisions in Akwa Ibom. After awhile, Ewet Housing Estate Division (B-Division) came on air and confirmed that my sister in-law was at the Division.”
SP Umoren said Mrs. Udoh was seriously manhandled and falsely charged for robbery and kidnapping, according to him, “when I asked to know what she was being charged for and I was told she was charged for kidnapping and robbery. When I got to the station, I saw her name boldly written on the suspect board. When she was eventually brought, tears ran though my eyes because she was seriously manhandled.”
“I later met with the said IGP-IRT, led by one Akan Joseph. So, B-Division cannot say they are not aware of what happened. The station was on air and responded to the radio message sent out by the Control Room. The records and date are there. Her name was registered on the Prisoner Lockup Register and all the items collected from her including the sum of N137,000 was entered into that register. I was kept at that station till about 4pm. I am talking to you as her surety. I signed the bail bond. I have been a police officer and till my retirement, police have never been assigned to carry axe, sledgehammer and other tools,” SP Umoren explained.