Police lay siege on Delta hotel, Deprives BAN from holding meeting

…Group insists on holding meeting, urges police to give reasons why they shouldn’t

Authorities of the Nigeria Police Force, on Friday, deprived an NGO, Brothers Across Nigeria, BAN, from holding her General Assembly at a popular Delta hotel in Ughelli, as armed police officers laid siege around the premises of Wetland Hotel.

The group had insisted on holding its meeting, demanding from the police the reason why they should not hold their meeting.

The president of the group, Dr. Lewis Aitufe reacting, described the action of the police as illegal and infringement on the fundamental human rights of the Nigeria citizens as enshrined in section 40 of the Nigeria constitution.

He noted that prior to the group assembling in Delta State, the Commissioner of Police Delta State, Mr. Hafiz Inuwa, the Director of SSS, where duly notified through a letter dated August 18th, and submitted to the Ughelli Area Commander, the DPO and duly acknowledged by the police, approving the meeting.

Dr. Altufe along side one of the past presidents of the group, Mr. Femi Osinbajo and other members, said the group has obtain a perpetual judgement in court against the Nigeria Police in 2018 in a suit No. A/M/97/2018 from interfering in any of the groups activities, but decried the gross disobedience of the police to court orders.

Aitufe noted due processes was followed and the Ughelli Police Area Commander and the DPO were also written in regard to the meeting, but said; he was surprised when he got a call from the Ughelli Area Commander on September 18, that the group activities scheduled for Friday 25 and 26, Sept. be cancelled as the Commissioner of Police was withdrawing his men from the event and ask him to call the CP for further clarification.

“I called the CP, and he said he got order from above that the meeting should be stop due to insecurity”.

He stated that with the above response and considering the huge resources that has been invested, we approached the High Court, Effurun Delta State for a court injunction in a suit No. EHC/M/77/2020, restraining the police from interfering in the activities of the Brothers Across Nigeria BAN, holding on September 25 and 26 respectively.

“With the above court injunction, the legal department of the body, were directed to write to the Inspector General of Police and also serve him the court order. To this he said; the IGP responded by asking the group to liaise with the CP Delta, and equally grant our request”.

In a memo showed to journalists and signed by DCP Idowu Owohunwa, a Principal Staff Officer to the IGP, reads; ” I am to confirm that the Inspector General of Police has instructed the Commissioner of Police, Delta State Command to handle your request. You may wish to liaise with him, accordingly. Kindly accept the assurance of the highest regards of the Inspector General of Police”.

Speaking further, the groups president, said as a body, they have been holding meetings in different parts of the federation without interference from the security operatives, rather they have been part of their activities, but wonders why the sudden interference without warrant.

” We are not criminals, we are not terrorists but peace loving organisation that is geared towards bettering the lives of the Nigeria society”.

“Our meeting and group has impacted on the society positively through our humanitarian services including donations of relief materials, funds and other necessary items to the needy; we have also embarked on health talk on HIV/AIDS, health walk as well as free medical test and donation of medical utilities to hospitals across Nigeria.

We also collaborate with other relevant bodies to fight human trafficking, and coming here, we have also planned to make donations towards the fight against Covid-19 which cost the body millions of naira to the Ughelli Central Hospital before this sudden interference without warrant”.

When contacted, the Commissioner of Police Delta State, Mr. Hafiz Inuwa, said; ” We had an intelligence, and base on insecurity report, we are stopping it”.

On the basis for stopping the groups meeting, the police commissioner said they are not aware of any court order, and ask which court,”

However, contrary to the CP claims, the group affirmed that the court injunction restraining the police from interfering on the group activities was duly served on them, and copies were given to Journalists as evidence to their claim.