Suspects Allegedly Forced To ATM For Release Fee

Some traditional rulers and residents of Orlu have cried out to the state government and Imo State Police Command over the recent harassment and undue extortion of money from innocent citizens by men of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) operating in Orlu and its environs, mainly during the weekends, a situation that has put fear into residents of the area. The intimidation according to sources has been on for several months now without the police authorities in Orlu batting an eye.

In a recent event at Amaifeke, few metres away from the domain of the Royal Father of the Community, a teenager who had prepared a venue for her birthday party in her fathers compound, was accosted by SARS operatives on her way to Orie Okporo on her brothers motor bike to the market, for some purchases.

The officers in a black Hilux Van with the inscription “SARS Mgbidi” apprehend the girl and took her to her mother’s shop, which they invaded and ransacked the area including the woman’s pot of stew, allegedly searching for Indian hemp.

Close to the scene, two young men who allegedly came to a nearby shop to buy drinks with a blue Toyota Avalon car were arrested and thoroughly manhandled by the operatives, using the flaps of the machete they were carrying.

The team whisked the young men away, one in their vehicle (Hilux) and the other in the suspects Avalon car and zoomed-off, as if heading to Mgbidi.

A journalist who witnessed the action and tried to know what happened, was threatened and scared away and that if he did not leave, he would be shot dead.

It was gathered that the innocent suspects were driven to a nearby ATM bank booth, from where they parted with the sum of N45,000 to secure their release from the SARS operatives, who now constitute a torn in the flesh of Orlu residents.

Another eye witness account, who simply gave her name as Rita, said that the young men were no criminals but young men who had come only to buy drinks and said that immediately the tough looking police officers alighted from their vehicles, they started shouting “where is the guy and started searching even my pot of stew, but did not find anything”.

When our men contacted one of the apprehended suspects, he confirmed that the operatives took them to a nearby bank from where they withdrew and parted with N45,000 and gave them and the other, a trader at the building materials shop Orlu, said that they were strictly cautioned not to tell anyone, “otherwise will come and deal with you”.

Another source in the area narrated how the SARS operatives parade and raid the area regularly on Saturdays and Sundays. “It is their routine exercise every weekend and with that vehicle from Mgbidi”, he stated.

When our correspondent called on the traditional ruler of Amaifeke, His Royal Majesty Eze (Dr)Emmanuel Okeke (Eze Udo II), he expressed worry over this fresh but ugly development and called on the State Commissioner of Police and the state government to come to their rescue, by intervening in the harassment.

Similarly it will be recalled that at the heat of the campaigns for the 2019 general elections in Orlu, the Publisher of the Watchdog Newspaper and UPP candidate for the Senate, was whisked away after the men of SARS had fired many shots in the air.

It took the special intervention of good spirited individuals to save the day for the publisher.

Some of the Orlu residents who spoke to this reporter on condition of anonymity have this to say,”The police who are expected to be friends of the people are now more enemies to those they should protect”.