The Inspector General of Police
The Nigeria Police
Louis Edet House
AN URGENT APPEAL TO INVESTIGATE ABUSE OF OFFICE AND CORRUPTION BY MR. STEVE NNIGA (AKA ANIGA), THE DPO, EZINIHITTE POLICE DIVISION, EZINIHITTE-MBAISE, IMO STATE WITH A VIEW TO DETERMINING WHETHER HE IS STILL FIT AND PROPER TO REMAIN IN THE NIGERIA POLICE.
Network on Police Reform in Nigeria writes to respectfully bring to your attention instances of cases of abuse of office, corruption and sundry excesses of Mr. Steve Nniga (08038659487), the DPO of Ezinihitte Police Division, Ezinihite-Mbaise, Imo State. We request you to urgently investigate this DPO’s unrelenting criminal and unlawful acts of extortion, harassment, intimidation and abuses for which he is notorious, and which conducts are unbecoming of a senior police officer in the Nigeria Police. We request you to investigate with a view to determining whether Mr. Aniga is still a fit and proper person to remain in the Nigerian Police of the 21st century.
Owing to widespread public resentment and loss of trust in him, we demand his redeployment from Ezinihitte Division while investigation into his unbecoming conducts is ongoing.
We have been informed and our investigations and personal encounter with Mr. Steve Aniga (aka Nniga), the DPOof Ezinihitte Division, Ezinihitte-Mbaise, Imo State confirm that he is a very brazenly corrupt, brash and dangerous police officer who is in the habit of extorting money from members of the community, harassing and detaining people at his whims and caprices.
Barrister Louis M. Alozie of LOUIS M. ALOZIE & CO, Owerri, Imo State informed us that sometime toward the end of 2011, he represented a traditional ruler HRH Eze John C. Ogu of Umunama, Ezinihitte who was complainant in a case of burglary/stealing from his filling station situated at Aboh-Chokoneze Road in Ezinihitte Mbaise. After investigation with eye witnesses identifying the leader of the gang that stole twenty (20) truck tyres from the filling station of Eze John C. Ogu valued at twenty million naira (N20M), one Mr. Ignatius Eze and the DPO Ezinihitte, Mr. Steve Aniga compromised the case.
Despite massive evidence pointing irresistibly to the suspect- Ignatius Eze and three others as those who actually stole the tyres, the DPO, Mr. Steve Nniga turned round to collect money from the suspects and refused to arraign them in Court for the offences they committed.
Towards the end of last year, the State Police Command Headquarters in Owerri took over the matter following a petition by the traditional ruler through his lawyers.
Sometime about October/November 2011, one Mr. Dandyson Onwere Ihunaya was killed in a motor accident involving a motorcycle rider said to be a Pastor. The deceased was also riding a motorcycle when the accident occurred. Because the accident happened at Okpofe in Ezinihitte, the Ezinihitte Police Division was contacted. Surprisingly, the DPO, Mr. Nniga turned round to brand the case ‘a case of murder’ and started to extort money from both the accused and the relatives of the deceased. He refused to allow the deceased family bury their dead until the family lawyers had to write on behalf of the family. He has refused to release the motorcycle belonging to the deceased until they pay the sum of twenty thousand naira (N20, 000.00) ostensibly, ‘to close the case’.
Till date, he is still withholding/detaining the motorcycle despite the family’s lawyers’ written appeal for him to release the motorcycle to the family of the deceased.
Meanwhile, he has taken no step to investigate the alleged murder; neither has any suspect been arrested on account of the incident.
The two families have since settled the matter out of Court, yet Mr. Nniga would not release the motorcycle until they pay him for it.
Recently, one Chimechefulam Alozie, resident in Aba, Abia State came to Barrister Louis Alozie’s chambers and reported that he was a victim of an armed robbery attack which happened very close to his residence in Aba, Abia State. He said the robbers surrounded him with what looked like an ‘Awka’ made pistol asking him to ‘bring that money’, ‘bring that money’. On realising that the poor boy had no money, the robbers left him and went after another man- also a resident within the neighbourhood-who was returning in his car. Because the other man refused to stop, the robbers shot at him and a stray bullet hit Chimechefulam Alozie at his upper neck from behind. Barrister Alozieadvised him to go back to Aba and lodge a formal complaint to the police, which he did. The Abia State PoliceCommand is presently handling the investigation. Chimechefulam Alozie had made statement to the police and as such is not on the run.
Unfortunately, in the early hours of 22 February, 2012 Mr. Nniga and his men went to Chimechefulam Alozie’s family compound and arrested Chimechefulam’s father (Mr. Ngozi Alozie), his mother (Mrs. Edith Alozie) and a widow (also Mrs. Edith Alozie) living in the same family compound.
On hearing this, Louis Alozie Esq., sent a lawyer from his chambers Mr. C. S. Obidiegwu to meet Mr. Nniga to find out why he was holding them, especially when these persons have nothing to do with what happened in Aba and also to inform him that the matter is being investigated by the Abia State Police Command where the incident happened. There was no basis for his intervening in the matter that happened with the Abia State Police Command.
When Barrister Alozie later spoke with Mr. Nniga on phone following his refusal to release the innocent old couple and widow, he (Mr. Nniga) was very rude to Barrister Alozie claiming that the young man who was with the police in Aba was being hidden by his parents. The DPO later collected money before releasing the innocent old man, his wife and the widow.
Later on, Chimechefulam’s younger brother Nwabueze Alozie complained that the DPO was still holding his motorcycle which they took away to the station the day they came to arrest his parents. Barrister Alozie now wrote again, appealing to the DPO on Nwabueze’s behalf for the release of his motorcycle since it did not belong to Chimechefulam the alleged suspect and indeed, has nothing to do with the case at hand.
Surprisingly, upon getting the letter on Saturday, 10/03/2012, Mr. Nniga flared up and immediately detained the young man (Nwabueze). When Barrister Alozie heard of this, he drove to see the DPO and to find out what was amiss. Mr. Nniga’s first reaction after the Barrister greeted him and introduced himself to him was to flare up, charging at the lawyer for not coming to show appreciation to him for releasing his family members he had held hostage since 22 February, 2012. He vowed never to release the motorcycle or Nwabueze and that if Barrister Alozie ‘made noise’, he would charge the boy with armed robbery. Nwabueze Alozie does not reside in Aba and has no connection with the alleged incident.
Because Barrister Alozie did not offer him money, the DPO vowed to detain Nwabueze Alozie for as long as he liked or to see to it that he is slammed with the charge of armed robbery, even though his initial allegation against the boy was that he must know his brother’s whereabouts- as if his brother is a wanted person.
I have also have had a personal encounter with this most corrupt and abrasive police officer. Sometime in January 2012, I accompanied a relative to lodge a complaint to the DPO about a shop which my said relative paid for but the former tenant had kept it under lock and key, refusing to open it to his use. To avert any lawlessness, I advised my relative to request the DPO-by way of mediation, to invite the parties and resolve the issue amicably. The DPO personally and openly demanded money before he could attend to us. When I expressed surprise at what I saw as his shameless and embarrassing display, he asked us to leave his office, saying people who have no money should come to the police station.
Our Concerns and Appeal
Sir, these and many other discreditable acts of corruption and abuse of office continue to happen every day at the Ezinihitte Police Division with members of the communities leaving in fear and resentment of this dreaded DPO. Instead of protecting the people, the DPO has turned the police into a predatory force preying on the people.
We hereby request you to intervene urgently in order to protect the people from this abusive police officer and to save the image of the police. His several acts of misconduct must be investigated and appropriate disciplinary measures meted to him.