An overwhelming crowd made up of Imo youths and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on Tuesday shut down the major roads and streets of Owerri, in demonstration of their anger against brutality in the hands of police personnel and other security agents. The groups were in Owerri to protest against what they described as police brutality and excessive extortion of Motorists and other road users in and around Imo State.
The protesters had assembled at the Freedom Square by Orlu Road Roundabout,Owerri by 8am before marching through Bank Road, Wetheral Road and finally settled at the Government House round about Owerri where they were later addressed by the governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma.
The state governor while addressing the protesters made up of mainly youths and women assured that his administration will not tolerate violation of people’s right. He said he supports them in their clamour to end SARS, for unleashing untold brutality and inflicting poverty through excessive extortion of money.
Majority of the protesters who spoke to this reporter expressed dismay over the serial extortion by the police, especially the so-called Anti-Robbery Squad, (SARS) unit of the Imo State police command which has now been disbanded by the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
Some of the victims of the police brutality and extortions had at the Freedom square narrated their ordeals in the hands of SARS in Imo State, while complaining bitterly that even at nights, these police personnel erect road blocks just to collect bribes from motorists and that those who refuse to give such bribe made notorious as “roja” are subjected to inhuman treatments. .
They condemned the activities of police in Imo while urging those in authority to arrest and persecute erring cops for violation of human rights. They could not understand why the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Adamu and the Imo State Commissioner of Police Akinyemode could not act before now.