By Paschal Emeka
Sand Dealers Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society has appealed to the Minister of Police Affairs to order the Delta State Police Command to obey orders of the Federal High Court judgments and to comply with the various directives of the Inspector General of Police, IGP.
In a petition to the Minister of Police Affairs dated 12th September, 2019 signed by the President of the Cooperative Mbadiwe Ossai, called on the Minister to direct the Commissioner of Police Delta State Command to withdraw his men from its operation site and respect court orders and directives from the IGP.
The Cooperative accused the commissioner of Delta State Adeyinka Adeleke of a case of “Flagrant Disobedience of orders of the Federal High Court with impunity, criminal trespass and forceful entry into areas of sand dredging business.”
It also accused the commissioner of his refusal to comply with IGP various directives on the same matter.
In the petition, it alleged that members of the cooperative have been hounded and hunted like common criminals by the Delta state police command since 1999; preventing them from their legal business adding that the command also allowed non-members to conduct illegal sand dredging activities on the River Niger beaches in Asaba.
Referring to the legal advice by the office of the IGP dated 3rd May, 2019 in which the AIG Zone 5 Benin and the Delta State Police Command were instructed to obey court order of the Federal High Court of Benin in a Suit No. FHC/B/CS/157/2000, to arrest suspects, and charge them to court for conspiracy, forceful entry, attempted murder, amongst others.
In another legal advice dated 26th July, 2019 by the AIG tagged “Case of Flagrant Disobedience of orders of the Federal High Court with impunity of criminal Trespass, forceful entry, “ in which it directed the Delta state police commissioner of police to obey the court order.
According to the petition, members of the Sand Dealers Multi-purpose Cooperative Society are Licensees of the National Inland Waterways and their business activities include sand dredging, sand excavation, transportation of goods, fishing, farming, hotel, entertainment at the bank of River Niger in Asaba Delta state.
It stated that despite all orders given, no action has been taken by the police to abide by the order of the court, adding those four judgments and 22 orders of the court in their favour, the police has done nothing to protect them.
It alleged that instead of the commissioner to obey court orders, he boasted that he will not allow its members into the area to do business, unless the society is willing to share the beaches into two and give one part to some PDP members, as he claimed that Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa is interested to protect his party members.
“Till date Gov. Okowa’s PDP members have been illegally occupying our beaches”.
The Cooperative also claimed that “on the 11th September, 2019 our workers went to the beach to resume work but the commissioner of police sent his men to chase us out”.
It stated that “some police men are permanently stationed in our beaches to protect those who are illegally dredging sand, threatening to arrest our members who dare come close to the beaches”.
According to the petition, it stated how 8 members of the cooperative along with the president were unlawfully imprisoned in 2011 until they were released in 2018.
It also alleged that four members of the cooperative have been killed as a result of fabricated petitions. It further stated that several efforts to seek justice have been rebuked by the delta state police command.
In the petition, it claimed that a total arrest of 53 of members of the cooperative were made and remanded at the federal prisons in Ogwashuku for 38 times by the delta police command using the delta state ministry of justice to persecute its members through the attorney general of delta state
Its worry is the refusal of the Delta Police Command to implement directives given by the IGP over its member’s sand dredging business at the River Niger bank in Asaba.
The Sand Dealers Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society decried the Police inaction and its perceived compromise as the present Delta state Police Commissioner has no intension to carry out the orders of the courts and of the IGP.