Former Imo police boss, Bolanta, accused of assaulting sales girl

Mr. Bolanta allegedly harassed a sales girl and her boss.

A former Commissioner of Police in Imo State, Adisa Bolanta, allegedly brutalized and caused the arrest of a salesgirl, Favour Ibe, in Owerri, the state capital.

Mr. Bolanta has also been accused of constant harassment and intimidation by the sales girl’s boss, simply identified as Mr. Okorie.

Mr. Okorie, who owns a shop at Wetheral Road in Owerri, said the former police commissioner has constantly attempted to forcefully eject him from his shop so that his (commissioner’s) wife can take it over.

For resisting to be bullied out of his property, the former police commissioner resorted to brutal means including unlawful detention to get him out of his office, Mr. Okorie said.

The shop owner, frustrated at Mr. Bolanta’s bullying, wrote a petition to an Owerri based Human Rights Organisation, in 2012 which was then forwarded to the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria, NOPRIN.

Mr. Okorie narrated the ordeal to the organizations saying that the former CP had on several occasions, detained him with the last assault being the brutalization, arrest and detention of his sales girl. Mr. Bolanta, the shop owner explained, also trumped up charges against his sales girl.

Sales girl’s account

PREMIUM TIMES spoke with Ms. Ibe, the sales girl and she narrated how police officers, allegedly sent by Mr. Bolanta, brutalised her.

“On that very day, so many police officers came with three cars went to a shop beside our shop talked to the guy there and who directed them to me. When they got to our shop, they shouted come out of there! Come out of there!!

Ms. Ibe explained to PREMIUM TIMES that the officers could not gain immediate access into the shop as she would usually lock herself in while attending to customers from a protector for fear of hoodlums.

The sales girl said once she found out it was law enforcement agents, her fears abated and she went out to attend to them.

“When I opened the shop and came outside to meet them, they told me to tell my boss, Mr. Okorie, to vacate the shop before the next month, being December 13, for renovation.”

Ms. Ibe said just as the policemen made to leave, she picked her phone in an attempt to call her

boss when one of the officers accused her of trying to take pictures of the former police boss.

“About 4 or 5 officers pounced on me immediately and beat me black and blue, a particular officer kicked me so hard in the stomach and I fell,” she said.

She claimed that Mr. Bolanta, who was with the officers, ordered the policemen to drag her into one of the cars. As she got into the car, she started a conversation with one of the policemen who pointed Mr. Bolanta to her and informed her that he was the police commissioner and he had given orders for her to be beaten.

Ms. Ibe spent a night in a police cell and afterwards and was charged at the state Magistrate Court for hitting a police man in his jaw, something she said she would never have thought of doing.

She pleaded not guilty to the charge and was subsequently bailed by a family friend.

Ms. Ibe said she is now suffering post traumatic symptoms and now has a phobia for police men.

“Recently, I got a new job with a good pay too, but could not take the offer for fear of being attacked again,” she said.

Intervention

The Non Governmental Organization, Network on Police Reform in Nigeria, NOPRIN, in a petition dated January 23, asked the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, to institute an investigation into the case and ensure that the former Commissioner of Police faces disciplinary actions.

“NOPRIN requests the IGP to order a prompt, impartial and full investigation into this matter with a view to ascertaining the truth and ensuring disciplinary measures and adequate compensation to the victims,” the group said.

All efforts by PREMIUM TIMES to reach Mr. Bolanta on the issue were futile as he did not return his calls or reply to the SMS sent to his phone.

Mr. Bolanta is however not new to crisis. In 2011, when he was the Oyo State Police Commissioner, he was accused of taking sides in the crisis that rocked the National Union of Road Transport Workers in the state.

In August 2012, he was transferred to serve in Imo State.

He quit being the police commissioner in Imo State in February 2013 after a reshuffling exercise in the police.


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