A man, said to be a pastor, Mr. Robert Gwegwe, has allegedly attacked the Secretary of the Civil Liberties Organisation, Bayelsa State chapter, Mr. Timi Igoli, by stabbing him in the eye.
The incident reportedly took place on May 29, 2017, at a mobile phone shop on Custom Road, Biogbolo area of Yenagoa metropolis.
Pastor Gwegwe was said to have stabbed the CLO Secretary with a pen in his hand following a minor argument between the two at the phone repairs’ shop.
It was learnt that after the attack, which left Igoli’s right eye seriously affected, the matter was reported to Ekeki Police Division in the state capital.
But the CLO has expressed anger and indignation at the incident as well as the alleged poor handling of the matter by the police.
The CLO in a protest letter sent to the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, accused the police of allegedly shielding the accused pastor from prosecution.
The group alleged that the police bias in the matter indicated complicity and attempt to derail justice.
The CLO stated, ”The incident occurred at a phone repair shop along Custom Road junction, Biogbolo in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, about 8pm where Pastor Robert Gwegwe and Mr. Timi Igoli went to repair their phones on May 29.
”In the process of a minor argument, Pastor Gwegwe stabbed Timi Igoli in his right eye with a pen in his possession. A police team was at the incident scene and arrested Pastor Gwegwe. The policemen took Igoli along with them to Ekeki Police Station where the suspect was detained. Igoli was referred to the Police Clinic at Ovom for treatment by Sergeant Justina Aboye, after taking his statement.
“When Igoli returned to the Ekeki Police Station at about 1 pm the following day, May 30, 2017, as directed by the Investigation Police Officer, another police officer, Sergeant Emem Edem, with Pastor Gwegwe accosted him.
”We have discovered that some of the officers at Ekeki Division have compromised and started shifting the case from one person to another. In the process, Igoli was being pressured to accept money in the presence of six relations of the detained Pastor but he rejected the offer. The victim had to consult his lawyers and filed a petition before the state Commissioner of Police.”
The CLO said that after the petition, the Commissioner of Police in the state directed that the case be transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department.
The organisation lamented that since the commissioner’s directive, a certain policeman at the station, had refused to hand over the case file since June 1, 2017, as ordered.
The CLO added, ”Our secretary is undergoing treatment because he is still in pains and his vision affected. We wish to bring to the notice of the IGP Idris that the order given by the Commissioner of Police that the case be transferred to the SCID has not been complied with because of ‘vested interest’ of an officer for about three weeks.
“We urge the IG to call on the Commissioner of Police to effect the order forthwith. We also urge the IG to use good offices to protect the fundamental human rights of the CLO Secretary and order the police officer, who is aiding and abetting his friend, Pastor Gwegwe, to be ethical and professional in carrying out his job.
”And that after proper investigation by the Police, the matter should be charged to a competent court of law.”
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Bayelsa State Command, Mr. Asinim Butswat, said the police were aware of the matter and that investigation was ongoing.
”The process of investigation is not what can happen overnight. But whether it has been transferred officially or not, the State Criminal Investigation Department has been able to confirm that they are aware and investigation is ongoing,” Butswat said.