Rivers family decries pregnant woman’s detention over pumping machine

The family of Mrs Mercy Elvis, a gardener to a former woman leader of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State, has cried out over the alleged intimidation and continuous detention of their sister by the police in the state.

Elvis’ family alleged that she was being detained over a missing water pumping machine at the Olu Obasanjo Police Division on the directives of the APC chieftain, who was her employer.

The victim’s elder brother, Mr Samuel Aru, while speaking to Sunday PUNCH in Port Harcourt on Saturday, said his sister was arrested over a case of missing water pump in her workplace on Thursday.

He stated that when he went to the station to secure her bail, the Investigating Police Officer told him that his sister’s boss allegedly asked them (police) not to grant her bail until she paid the sum of N120,000, the cost of the missing machine.

Aru said he was shocked that a trained police officer would take directives from a complainant and jettison professionalism in the discharge of his duty.

He claimed that his sister was unwell, adding that she was pregnant and had not taken her medication since her arrest.

Reacting to the arrest, a lawyer and member of the Human Rights Committee, Nigeria Bar Association, Mrs Jane James, accused the police of taking laws into their hands.

James said a suspect was supposed to be arraigned within 24 hours of arrest.

“After 24 hours if there are no courts within that jurisdiction, the person should be produced before a competent court within 48 hours.

“More so, this woman is pregnant, and I wonder why a police officer will conspire with a complainant to do what our constitution is against that anybody arrested is innocent until proven guilty by a competent court after trial,”  she said.

When contacted, the state police spokesperson, Grace Iringe, said when she got in touch with the DPO of the said station, he informed her that the pregnant woman was granted bail but there had been no reasonable surety to facilitate the process of her release.

“So, from what he (DPO) told me, a lack of surety is what is delaying her release,” she said.

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