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27 Sep 2017

Police Officers Detain Newspaper Vendors, Demand N60,000 Bribe for Bail in Rivers

Police officers have subjected newspaper vendors to painful experience after detaining them and demanding bribe.
Men of the Nigeria Police Force
According to a report by Punch Metro, the Oyigbo Police Station in Rivers State has continued to detain three newspaper vendors for refusing to pay N60,000 bribe for their bail.

It was gathered that two of the newspaper vendors were arrested for selling newspapers at Oyigbo Junction on Sunday and Monday.

The third vendor was arrested and detained on Tuesday by the policemen at the station for bringing food for his famished colleagues.

It was learnt that rather than release them, some policemen at the Oyigbo Police Station took time to read some of the newspapers confiscated from the vendors.

The Secretary of the Newspapers Distributors’ Association of Nigeria, Rivers State Chapter, Mr. Imoh Micah, told newsmen in Port Harcourt on Tuesday that the Investigating Police Officer in charge of the matter (name not ascertained) insisted that the sum of N60,000 must be paid to bail the three newspapers vendors.

Micah expressed shock that the IPO was asking for money to bail innocent citizens of the country when the Nigeria Police had maintained that bail was free.

He said, “Ifeanyi, Chidi and one other vendor – I don’t have his name now because he is new – were detained by the police. Two of the vendors were detained because, according to the IPO, they were selling newspapers at Oyigbo Junction.

“The IPO said newspapers vendors had been warned not to sell newspapers at Oyigbo Junction. But what is wrong in selling our newspapers at that junction?

“The first vendor was arrested and detained on Sunday while the second one was arrested and detained on Monday. The third vendor was arrested and detained when he came to the police station with food for his two colleagues who were hungry.

“We later went to the DPO to appeal to him to release our members, but he said that the vendors would be charged to court on Thursday. When we asked him the court our members would be taken to, the DPO walked us out of his office.

“The police have made it a point of duty to be harassing us. This is where we get our daily bread and I don’t know why they (police) should arrest us for selling newspapers.”

However, efforts to reach the Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Nnamdi Omoni, to react to the matter, was not successful.

Omoni did not respond to several calls put across to his mobile phone and also did not reply a text message drawing his attention to the detention of the three vendors at the Oyigbo police station.

Meanwhile, a reliable source, who is a members of the vendors’ association in Rivers State, revealed that one of the vendors, identified as Ifeanyi, was released by the police in Oyigbo after a pastor paid the sum of N10,000 for his bail.

“Yes, one of them; ifeanyi, has been released. The pastor of his church came to the police station and paid N10,000 before they released Ifeanyi,” the source said.

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