Rivers Crisis: House Majority Leader Chidi Lloyd Returned to Port Harcourt in Black Maria, Blind Folded
The majority leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Chidi Lloyd who has been in detention at the force Headquarters, since he reported to the police authority after been summoned was yesterday returned t Port Harcourt blindfolded.
This development was made known by Nwafor, SAN, Counsel to Chidi Lloyd, who said he is worried over the safety of his client because of the way the Police was allegedly treating him. He said Hon Lloyd was driven in, blind folded and driven in a Black Maria from the Port Harcourt International Airport.
“Because of my client’s information to me that he was detained at the Force Headquarters above the one-day that was allowed, Chidi Lloyd was flown into Port Harcourt yesterday, and instead of bringing him to court to defend himself , we found, he was blindfolded and we don’t know what is happening to him. There is genuine fear for his life.
“If the Police have nothing to hide, they would have brought Chidi Lloyd to court this morning. He is still not brought to court till about 5pm. Even an armed robber is brought to court in a Black Maria, so why won’t he (Chidi) be brought to court. If he is brought to court, then, we will know that he is alive.
“The Chief Justice of the Federation has made rules that we are following at the Federal High Court and the High Court and both have concurrent jurisdiction to hear fundamental rights application” Nwafor said.
Emenike Ebete who is also one of his lawyers said it was sad that the Police was yet to arraign the lawmaker twenty four hours after he went to the Force Headquarters, Abuja. Continuing, he corroborated claim by Nwafor, that his client was blindfolded when he arrived Port Harcourt, adding that at the moment, he could not say where he was. He further expressed deep worries over his security.
“We arrived Port Harcourt at 8.45am this morning and over 500 policemen escorted Chidi Lloyd from the Port Harcourt Airport to the office of the Commissioner of Police. He was blindfolded when he alighted from the Black Maria as if he was a common criminal. He walked into the CP’s office and spent about three minutes. After that, we don’t know his where about.”
On his part, the member representing Andoni/Opobo Nkoro Federal Constituency, Rivers State in the House of Representatives, Hon Dakuku Peterside condemned the alleged torture of Hon Lloyd by Police in the state yesterday.
“This is not only condemnable but regrettable. Rivers State Police Command under Mbu seems not to be bothered by the fact that any evidence that is obtained by force, torture, intimidation or by any form of abuse is not admissible in the court of law, and this is unfortunate.
“This inhuman conduct by Rivers State Police Command is not only a gross abuse of the fundamental human rights of the accused but further confirms our fears that Mbu is out to eliminate Lloyd who has been subjected to horrific ordeal since his return to Rivers State.
“This ugly development in our country today is anti-thetical to the Geneva Convention which expressly demands that countries take effective measures to prevent torture within their borders. Other international laws also confirm that torture and other mistreatment of persons in custody are also prohibited in all circumstances under international human rights law.
This, no doubt, is diminishing and a major setback to our nascent democracy.
“The Police High Command should do the needful and stop subjecting the accused to this inhumanity until full investigation into the crisis is concluded. He has neither been convicted of any offence nor condemned to perpetual incarceration in police custody by any court of law,” Peterside said in a statement by his media aide, Sylvester Asoya.
The statement further lauded the Inspector General of Police, for the way Hon Lloyd was allegedly treated while at the Force Headquarters, Abuja.
On his part, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon Leyii Kwanee also expressed worry over the whereabout of Lloyd.
“There are dangers of his where about. You can recall the case of Abiola, when he was arrested and held in custody, few days after he was released, he died. So, we don’t know what the police authorities are doing with Chidi Lloyd. I gathered few hours ago that he was at the Police Officers’ Mess, but now it is about 5pm, Chidi Lloyd is not in court and nobody knows what might happen to him. I was told that he was handcuffed and tortured. Even if there are assumptions that he committed any crime, he deserves an opportunity to express himself before he can be charged to court. Nobody has the right to torture Chidi Lloyd, not to talk of any Nigerian”, Kwanee said
“If you’ll recall what happened, Chidi Lloyd was invited by the Police Force Headquarters, Abuja for alleged conspiracy. It is not possible to conspire with oneself. Who are the conspirators? I have spoken severally that there is a grand plan, a design to undermine democracy in Rivers State. There are elements that are anti-democratic, working to undermine the developmental efforts of Governor Amaechi. It is the grand plan by those who are against the progress of the current administration. There is development everywhere, but, the enemies are at work”, he said.
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