According to SaharaReporters, the power-drunk police officers at the Inspector-General of Police's (IGP) Intelligence Response Team, Abuja, have asked an eight-month-old pregnant woman, Chioma Okoro, who is based in Owerri, Imo State, to come to Abuja before the release of her husband, Chukwudi Okoro, can be negotiated.
A family source disclosed this to SaharaReporters, saying the woman is presently depressed as she is close to delivery and needs her husband who has been in police detention since May 25 for no known offence.
SaharaReporters had last Saturday reported that Okoro, who was arrested alongside four others, was labelled as a member of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and accused of being part of the unknown gunmen who razed the state police command headquarters.
SaharaReporters however learnt from the family members of the other four that they had been released by the IGP’s team after each of them paid at least N1 million to the officers.
“The woman got the phone number of Inspector Daniel, one of the police officers in the deal at the IGP’s IRT. They had warned the other four South-East residents released to deny that they paid any bribe to the police. But when the woman called the inspector on Thursday, he told her to come to Abuja before her husband could be released or stop calling his number.
“If no money is involved, why are the policemen asking an eight-month-old pregnant woman to travel from Owerri to Abuja before her husband could be released? The man has other family members and friends that the police can invite. Why are they holding on to the man because his wife has not come to Abuja?” the source stated.
SaharaReporters had on June 19 reported that Chioma noted that her husband, Chukwudi, was still being held at the IRT because the family had not paid the N1.5 million the IRT police in Abuja demanded.
The men were arrested during a raid by the joint team of the police and the Nigerian Army on May 24 in Owerri, Imo State, and labelled as members of the Indigenous People of Biafra and part of the unknown gunmen wreaking havoc in the South-East.
Chioma Okoro, who is due to give birth in July, begged the police's top echelon to release her husband, who is a struggling tricycle driver.
“He is the only one still in detention among the five of his set right now. The police told us to bring N1.5 million to secure his release. He is the eldest brother. He has only two younger brothers who are in school. They don't have such an amount.
“My husband needs help. He does not have such an amount. The tricycle he is riding was got on hire purchase and he has not even completed the amount he is required to pay. I am not doing anything for now. I am eight months pregnant. I am a hairdresser. Things are very difficult for me and the family.
“He has been arrested since May 25. He was labelled as an unknown gunman. We last spoke on Wednesday and what my husband said was that I should try and find a means. We are all tired,” she had said.
SaharaReporters had earlier on Saturday reported that the IGP Intelligence Response Team in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, has been collecting at least N1 million as a bribe as bail before releasing South-East youths and artisans tagged and arrested as members of the IPOB’s Eastern Security Network.
SaharaReporters had learnt from the families of the victims, who did not want their names in print to avoid police victimisation, that they paid the huge sums through their nose before securing the release of their relations.
SaharaReporters gathered that the victims were raided in the South-East and brought to detention at the IGP’S IRT office in Abuja.
“The Investigating Police Officer at the IRT's team holding them is one Inspector Daniel. They were five in number taken to the IRT office, formerly called Abattoir.
“We paid about N1 million to secure the release of Chigaemezu (one of the victims). He was released in June by the police in Abuja,” one of the family members had said.