This Civil Society organisation, Centre for International Integrity Peace and Development in Nigeria (CIIPAD) led a protest demanding for justice on the harassment and dehumanisation of their founder Chief Ime Stephen.
The protest was at the Police headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria, asking for the prosecution of an Inspector of Police, Joseph Etuk who raped a 15 years old girl in Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria. The case which is alleged to be pending with continuous harassment and vandalism of the CIIPAD and its founder, was said to be due to their interest to get justice for the rape survivor named Mary Udo.
Some of the traumas incurred
More sights from the protests in Abuja. Below is the official letter written by the organisation to the Police I.G
COMPLAINT OF MALICIOUS PROSECUTION AND APPEAL FOR INVESTIGATION OF THE ROLE OF THE CHIEF MAGISTRATE IN OUR PERSECUTION IN CHARGE NO. ME/75C/2017
COMMISSIONER OF POLICE
CHIEF IME STEPHEN OTHERS
PENDING AT MKPAT ENIN MAGISTRATE’S COURT
We are officers and staff of Centre for International Integrity Peace and Development in Nigeria (CIIPAD) whom some Police Officers of the Surveillance Unit of the Police Force at Ikot Akpan Abia in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State arrested and are maliciously prosecuting at the Magistrate’s Court in Mkpat Enin, Akwa Ibom State. Chief Ime Stephen who is our Director General is also the Chairman of the National Coalition of Civil Society Groups in Nigeria.
CIIPAD Nigeria is a Non-Governmental Organization duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja and a member of the National Anti-Corruption Coalition Commission of the I.C.P.C. duly vetted by the D.S.S.and other Security agencies.
The activities of the organization include conflict management and promotion of peaceful co-existence through dialogue. Many security agencies of the
Federal Government of Nigeria including the DSS, ICPC and EFCC etc have acknowledged and commended the good works of CIIPAD Nigeria for collaborating and complementing the Federal Government efforts of ensuring peaceful co-existence among Nigerians. The organization had its operational Headquarters in Abuja but relocated to Akwa Ibom State in 2015 and has been operating from its permanent office at Nyaodiong in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
In the course of its activities in Akwa Ibom State, the organization received many complaints from aggrieved members of the public, and some of the complaints bordering on crimes were forwarded to the Commissioner of Police at Ikot Akpan Abia in Uyo or the Assistant Inspector General of Police at Zone 6, Calabar depending on the magnitude of the complaints while simple civil disputes among brothers, sisters, fathers and community members which the organization could resolve were so handled by the organization.
The organization had a cordial relationship with the Police both in Akwa Ibom State and outside. However, in 2016 the organization received complaints and forwarded same to the Police and followed up a case of rape at gun point of a 15 year old Miss Mary Udo who was raped by Inspector Joseph Etuk attached to the Divisional Police Station at Mkpat Enin Local Government Area. It is on record that the said Police Inspector was dismissed from the Nigeria Police Force on account of the infamous and criminal act.
When the said Inspector Joseph Etuk was dismissed, Police Officers at Mkpat Enin and Ikot Akpan Abia ganged up against the organization and the gang-up grew to an open attack and threats to deal with members of CIIPAD Nigeria for their impetus that caused the dismissal of the said Inspector. The frosty relationship was compounded when Police Officers of the Surveillance Unit of the Police Force at Ikot Akpan Abia were made to refund the sum of
unlawfully obtained from Mr. Ubong Ekanem, Mr. Iniobong Ekanem and Mr. Iniobong
Benson as a condition for the release of their truck used in oil bunkering. The
refund was at the instant of the complaint made by CIIPAD Nigeria to the Asst.
Inspector General of Police at Calabar. When the refund was made, the complaint
was withdrawn by CIIPAD Nigeria.
Consequent upon the said refund of
N150,000.00, the Officers involved
conspired and arrested the Director General of CIIPAD Nigeria and members of
Staff on 20th October 2017 who went to Ikot Akpan Abia for official
matter and on the following day, the said Police Officers invaded the
organization’s office at Nyaodiong Village and packed all files, documents,
office equipment and vehicles and particulars belonging to the organization to
Ikot Akpan Abia and after days of detention made charges against the Director
General and staff of the organization in a case presently pending at Mkpat Enin
While they were on remand in Prison Custody at Ikot Abasi for over 3 months on account of non-fulfillment of incredible bail conditions imposed by the Magistrate, the office of the organization was again invaded and vandalized by persons suspected to have been sponsored or led by those behind the malicious prosecution of the organization. For this reason, perhaps, the petition made to the Police at Ikot Akpan Abia for investigation of the vandalization of the office of the organization has not been investigated till date.
As if the malicious prosecution and vandalization of the organization’s office were not enough, on 18th day of July 2018, when the Director General of the Organization went to Nyadiong to video the extent of damage of the office complex of the organization, he was brutally machetted by known persons but he narrowly escaped death from the hand of his assailants. Till date, the Police have not arrested the main culprits reported to them. The reasons for not arresting the main culprit till now are because he is a Policeman and is being used as a Star witness for the malicious prosecution.
From the foregoing and other surrounding circumstances too numerous to be included in this application, it is apparent that the charges brought against the staff of CIIPAD Nigeria by the Police are maliciously orchestrated to avenge a perceived audacity of CIIPAD Nigeria in petitioning the Police Authority leading to the dismissal of Inspector Joseph Etuk - the rapist - and the refund of
by the said Officers of the Surveillance Unit. The role CIIPAD played in the 2
events was within its mandate.
Having observed that the prosecutorial Powers of Attorney General was used for personal vendetta, we applied to the Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State to take over the case from the Police which application was granted and the State took over the prosecution of the case.
While the Attorney General office was studying the facts of the case with view to advising or taking appropriate action, a private legal practitioner came to Court in one of the days the case was adjourned to and in the absence of the State Counsel, he applied to the Court to grant an adjournment to enable him obtain the fiat of the Attorney General to prosecute the case. The Court granted the adjournment in the absence of our Lawyer. On the date the case was adjourned to, the same Lawyer in private practice appeared again in Court and in the absence of the State Counsel made the same application to the Court to grant him an adjournment to enable him obtain the fiat of the Attorney General to prosecute the case. What surprises us was that despite the objection by our Lawyer to adjourning a case for a private Lawyer to obtain the fiat of the Attorney General to prosecute the case, the Court granted the adjournment not minding that one of us has been in prison custody since 2017.
We felt in the circumstance that the conduct of the Magistrate was oppressive considering several adjournments she had granted on account of the absence of the prosecution. We are strongly of the view that what is going on in the Court has taken the matter from the realm of prosecution to persecution.
We are appealing to your office to carry out thorough investigation as to the role of the Magistrate Court in the case pending at Mkpat Enin Magistrate Court, particularly considering the outrageous bail conditions she gave to us.
We shall be grateful for your timely intervention to prevent further abuse of your powers.