The police in Obudu, northern part of Cross River State, have arrested two men, Stephen Apebende and his unidentified friend, for allegedly photographing police officers via their cell phones while extorting road users. This came just as the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, had during his visit to Calabar, berated some commissioners of police for being responsible for extortions from road users. The detained men, who spent their Easter Sunday and Monday holidays at the police cell in Obudu Police Station, were arrested along the Obudu Ranch Resort Road at the police checkpoint just before the residence of the Chief of Staff to Governor Ben Ayade, Mr. Martins Orim.
Southern City News learnt that the officers were furious that Apebende and his friend had captured them while collecting bribe from road users. The situation was further compounded after the policemen discovered that they could not gain access to the photo album of the android and i-phone that was used by the duo in capturing their images.
A family source, Ugbe Samson, said, “The two men were released on Monday after the policemen brought in a local GSM phone guru to unlock the seized phones.” It was learnt that Apebende, who works with a non-governmental organisation with focus on HIV/AIDS, would press for legal redress over the matter.
Samson said although Apebende was advised by close family relatives not to push for any case against the police, the plea, it was gathered might not work.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. John Eluu, said he was not aware of the development. “I have not got that report from the Obudu division. But I would want to advise those affected to come to the Police headquarters in Calabar to formally lay their complaints if anything of that nature ever happened. The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Henry Fadairo, will attend to such case if they have proof.”
Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, had during a stakeholders meeting with traditional rulers, Muslim and Christian community leaders and traders, said extortion from road users in any state is a reflection of the disposition of commissioner of police. Arase, who was responding to complaints from a stakeholder on extortions on highways, said, “You can know a corrupt commissioner of police from the conduct of his men on the highway. If I am driving through some states in Nigeria, I easily perceive the personality of the commissioner through his men.”