The Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC) condemns the invasion of the offices of ABC Transport Company along Eta Agbo Street in Calabar, Cross River State and the unprovoked brutal attacks on staff of the transport company and their neighbors by operatives of the Anti Kidnapping Unit of the Nigeria Police in Calabar on Thursday November 10, 2022.
According to information from officials of the company and from video records of the incident, men of the Anti-Kidnapping Unit, Calabar armed with weapons including guns, machetes and sticks descended viciously on the staff of the company, attacked them together with passengers and staff of other neighboring businesses on the said date causing serious damage and grievous harm.
The attack was said to have been based on a claim by the police invaders that a friend to one of their colleagues had a waybill that was delayed by the ABC Bus transport.
As revealed in one of the videos, the police officers ignored pleas and explanations being offered to them by some staff of the transport company and continued to brutalize them and destroyed property.
After inflicting severe damage on property and injuries on several staff and others within the scene, the Anti-Kidnapping officers arrested the Manager and some other staff of the ABC Transport service and detained them at their station.
● RULAAC is concerned that the conduct of the police officers amount to an unjustifiable act of unprovoked aggression and display of raw power
● The reason for the police action was purely a civil matter that did not warrant or justify police intervention let alone the level of violence unleashed by the officers. Their action was unprofessional and unlawful considering that the Police Act 2020 expressly prohibits police officers dabbling into civil matters such as this.
● Delay of a waybill could have been resolved through civil means. It should not call for violence, assault, abuse of firearms and arrest and detention of workers of ABC Transport service.
● The attack on the staff of the company and others amount to gross violation of their fundamental rights to fair hearing, liberty, personal safety and human dignity
● The continued exhibition of reckless show of power, abuse and violence indicate that the lessons of #EndSARS are lost on many police officers who continue to revel in impunity.
● While we acknowledge that police authorities have demonstrated increased determination to curb impunity, the message needs to be made louder and clearer that excesses, misuse of police powers and abuse of human rights will no longer be tolerated or condoned as they deepen public resentment and deny the police public support
RULAAC calls on the Inspector General of Police to:
1. Order the identification and arrest of all the personnel involved in this discreditale conduct for investigation and appropriate punishment
2. Order the Immediate release of the arrested staff of ABC Transport and others including passengers and staff of neighboring businesses
3. Ensure compensations and remedies for the victims including medical treatment for those wounded as well as public apology