Fifteen policemen have been arrested for extortion by the Abia State Police command.
Disclosing this while responding to a question during a town hall meeting the command organised for critical stakeholders on how best to fight crime in the commercial city, the State Commissioner of Police, Ene Okon said the arrests was made mainly in Aba.
Okon said the arrests were effected and made public not only to deter officers and men of the command from engaging in corrupt activities, but also to let the public know that the police hierarchy does not shield bad eggs among its ranks.
He revealed that the essence of the Town Hall Meeting was to discuss the biting effect of activities of criminals who have suddenly shifted their operations to the hinterland.
Okon also called on traditional rulers in the state to liaise with the divisional police officers in the various police divisions to form credible vigilante groups.
“We don’t mind to see as many vigilante groups as possible, but they must follow due process. We really want partnership with the people of the community and we will encourage any communities that are ready.
“But it must go by due process where your traditional rulers, your President General will be aware of all those Involved, screened them and hand them over to the police for proper screening.
“Police will screen them as well and train them properly and issue them identity card signed by DPO, Eze and President General of the community. We’ll give you recognition but due process must be followed.”
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu charged the state police command and community leaders to collaborate and form neighbourhood watch to rid the rural areas in the state of criminals.
Ikpeazu, represented by his Special Assistant on Security, Captain Awah Udonsi (Rtd), advised that the Eberi Omuma boundary leading to Rivers State and the Abala boundary in Obingwa leading to Akwa-Ibom State and some other boundaries should be monitored seriously.
Chairman of Hotels Proprietors Association of Nigeria, Aba branch, Chief Goddy Egbuchulam condemned the attitude of some policemen who he accused of raiding hotels at will even when there was no cause for that.
He promised that his association would corporate with the police to flush out criminals in the city and called for a stop to incessant raiding of hotels in the city.