Concerned policemen in Enugu State Police Command have sent a save-our-souls to Inspector-General of Police, Mr Kayode Egbetokun, and Chairman Police Service Commission (PSC), Mr. Solomon Arase to wade into the issue of reduction in ranks of three of their colleagues in Nsukka police Division.
The policemen claimed that their colleagues were allegedly wrongly punished after they narrowly escaped death from the hands of unknown gun men, who engaged them in a gun battle.
The punished officers: Inspector Ernest Ogbonna, AP No 201118, Inspector Aboh Justin, AP No 274182, and Inspector Kingsley Ugwuja, AP No 326239, were reportedly on duty at a hotspot along Nsukka-Ibagwa Ani Road, last June, when they were attacked by over 10 heavily armed hoodlums that came in a white Hilux, and a Siena bus.
The gunmen opened fire on them, whille the officers allegedly engaged the brigands for about an hour.
It was gathered that after the intense fire exchange, the police officers succeeded in repelling the hoodlum’s onslaught and chased them away with some of them inflicted with injuries. Unfortunately, during the exchange of fire, the criminals succeeded in setting fire on the police van at the scene,but there was no loss of lives.
The police arms were intact and no wounds was sustained by the members of the police team.
Police sources, said that after the narrow escape by the lucky officers, the police authority queried them and orderly room trial was set up for them.
A police sergeant,who spoke on the condition of anonymity as he was not supposed to speak with press,said when the result of the trial came out, the gallant personnel were reduced in ranks, a decision that was also affirmed by the Assistant Inspector-General of Police at Zone 13, Ukpo, Anambra State, who oversees the activities of police officers in Enugu and Anambra States.
The punishment, according to a police Officer,sent shock waves amongst the rank and file of both commands as they have been victims of ceaseless attacks by criminals masquerading as unknown gunmen for a long time.
Some of the officers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order not to be punished, said that they have been in very low spirit after the unfair punishment was meted to the gallant officers.
According to the officer, “does it mean that the authorities expected our colleagues to die and be decorated in death? They performed so gallantly. They were only three ill equiped officers, but they were able to confront the heavily armed gang of criminals numbering over ten. They came out without injuries and loss of arms yet, the accolade police gave them was to try and reduce their ranks. This is outrageous and cries to high heavens for justice.”
Reports said that the concerned officers had since appealed against the injustice meted on them and are eagerly awaiting redress by the IGP.
A rights group in Enugu, Alliance for Justice intimated that the morale of officers especially, Enugu state, is very low after the unfair orderly room trial of the officers.
Their spokesman, Dr. Okwui Eze lamented: “This is the greatest height of injustice I have seen in this century. Just few days ago, gallant police officers and Army were gruesomely killed by these criminals in Imo state, see the incessant kidnappings now going on in Enugu state and at the end of the day, the police will wickedly treat their gallant officers that survived such attack in this heartrending manner. Where then lies justice? How do you expect our long suffering and ill equipped officers and men to continue to fight criminals?”
“We are appealing to the IGP,Mr. Egbetukon who has so far taking very pragmatic and commendable steps to fight crime and criminalities in the country to urgently address this callous and inhuman treatment meted on these three officers. There should be no recourse to insubordination as his timely action in this regard will highly restore the moral of his me in Enugu and Anambra states. The concerned officers must be duely rewarded by police authorities.”
Reacting, spokesman of Enugu State Police Command, Daniel Ndukwe said: “Whilst I make effort to verify and ascertain the actual status of the said trial, it is important to inform you that orderly trial is purely an internal administrative and/or disciplinary matter of the NPF.”
“Hence, if any Police personnel, just as you mentioned, is aggrieved with the outcome of such trials, he/she certainly knows the best channel through which judgements are appealed. So advise the individual(s) mentioned to do the needful please.”