The Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Mr. Chidi Lloyd, has petitioned the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), protesting his illegal arrest and detention by the police for alleged double murder.
Specifically, Lloyd is accusing the State Police Commissioner, Mr. Joseph Mbu; the state’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ahmad Muhammad, DSP; and the Police Command of unlawful arrest, detention, intimidation, arbitrary and excessive use of police powers.
He asks to be released forthwith.
The embattled lawmaker whose petition was written by his lawyer, Ken Atsuwete, was arrested by the police on Thursday for allegedly using his car to run over Police Sergeant Urang Obediah and one Kingsley Ejeuo, in Port Harcourt the state capital.
But Lloyd in his petition, said he was only a passenger in the car which was involved in an accident “along the Emuoha Council Secretariat axis of the East-West Road, occasioned by an illegal road block or check point mounted by the some policemen from the Rivers State Police Command”.
He noted that one of the policemen, Sergeant Urang Obediah, died shortly thereafter, with one Kingsley Ejeuo as a result of the impact from the collusion.
His lawyer said: “The driver (now detained) of the said vehicle promptly handed himself over to the police, while Hon. Lloyd proceeded to the hospital somewhere in Port Harcourt for treatment between the 31st of December 2013 and 1st of January 2014, when he was discharged and he proceeded to his house in Port Harcourt, for continued treatment under strict medical instructions from his doctor.
“Hon. Chidi Lloyd was in his house until the 2nd day of January, when he described the whereabouts of his residence to the officers and men of the Rivers State Police Command, who had made enquiries through telephone as to the location of our client. Lloyd was at home with his wife, relatives and one of his lawyers, Emenike Ebete, when senior officers from the said police command came in to effect an arrest, without stating the reason for the arrest.
“As a law abiding Nigerian, our client allowed himself to be whisked away in an unmarked police vehicle, without the least explanation as to why his house was invaded by a huge number of policemen, who came armed to the teeth, in a commando and extremely intimidating style.
“The pandemonium caused by such harassing and intimidating attack on his peaceful home has now left a stigma and palpable fear in his wife, children and entire household. Hon. Lloyd has been in detention at command since then, without being arraigned or released by the said police command”.
Lloyd said his continued incarceration is a violation of his “freedom of movement, right to private and family life and all other attendant inalienable rights of the said client, as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights” by the police “under the unlawful and arbitrary orders of Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu, who is now a law unto himself in Rivers State.”
Lloyd, in apparent response to the claim by the police that they arrested him as he attempted to escape in a private jet allegedly provided for by the state governor, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, accused the police of malicious distortion of the circumstances surrounding his arrest and continued harassment saying, “by manufacturing defaming facts against Hon. Lloyd, who was clearly painted as a convicted man on the run, who was apprehended by the police, while he was attempting an escape”.
He added: “This is an act of criminal defamation of character, deliberately employed by the Rivers State Police Command, under the watch of Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu. The aim is to degrade and treat Hon Chidi Lloyd in a way that is not human and humane, in clear contrast to our client’s constitutional right not to be treated in a degrading and inhuman manner”.
“Witnesses like the man who drove the car in question have given useful statements to the same command, which clearly indicated Hon. Lloyd was not the one who drove the car. In the event that this driver, who has confessed that he drove the car when the accident occurred, is charged, common knowledge of the law is a pointer that he could only be charged for reckless driving and manslaughter and not murder or double murder as maliciously published against Hon. Lloyd by the Rivers State Police Command and its commissioner, who have unlawfully held him under such misguided and unconscionable impression, without the least effort or likelihood that he will be released any time soon”.
He, therefore, asked to be released on bail forthwith to enable him return home “for medication, while your commission wades into the matter now, with a view to arriving at a decision that perfects the enforcement of our client’s inalienable rights as safeguarded and guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation 2004 and the indeed the Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999”.
It would be recalled that Governor Amaechi on Friday in Port Harcourt, declared that the Rivers police command lied on Thursday’s arrest of Lloyd, while the House’s leader also maintained that Mbu is a liar, who is desperate to destroy his political career, through the murder allegation.