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How Ex-Imo Police Commissioner, Abutu Ordered Officers To Shoot Youths For Cheering Unknown Gunmen —Group

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RULAAC stated that the new Imo CP appears to be reasonable and has “no tolerance for corruption and abuse.”

According to a report by SaharaReporters, the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC) has called for massive support for the new Commissioner of Police in Imo State, Rabiu Hussain. 

RULAAC stated that the new Imo CP appears to be reasonable and has “no tolerance for corruption and abuse.”

The group also assured the public that Hussain will not follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, Yarọ Abutu, who he said “promoted policing with animosity.”

These were contained in a statement by RULAAC Executive Director, Okechukwu Nwanguma, which was obtained by SaharaReporters on Thursday. 

The statement was titled, “Let’s Support and Encourage the Commissioner of Police, Imo State, CP Rabiu Hussain on the path of Professional Policing.”

The statement read, “The immediate past Commissioner of Police, Imo State, CP Yaro Abutu introduced and executed expeditionary and predatory policing in Imo State. Under his leadership, countless Imo youths and residents were killed in mass police raids and indiscriminate and vengeful shootings and arrests. 

“Mass raids were frequent and everyone on sight was arrested, detained, tortured, paraded and disappeared or arraigned in court on frivolous and unfounded charges including attempt to overthrow Governor Hope Uzodinma and President Buhari.

“A female Police officer revealed to RULAAC researchers on condition of anonymity that CP Abutu was ordering police operatives to go to neighbourhoods and shoot anyone on sight because they were cheering unknown gunmen who attacked police stations and killed police officers. 

“He reasoned that those who cheer criminals were not different. But did they determine those actually involved in the cheering? Abutu acted like someone who came to Imo State on a mission to annihilate the youth population on the pretext of fighting IPOB and ESN. 

“I know that Abutu was buoyed in his expeditionary brutality by the IGP’s charge to the police in the southeast to go after IPOB and kill them. But any sensible CP will not use that as a carte blanche or excuse to embark on indiscriminate killings. Not every Imo youth belongs to IPOB or ESN but Abutu treated everyone as such. He promoted policing with animosity.

“Abutu became so discredited that the media in Imo State embargoed the Police. They no longer attended media briefings and parades of suspects and never reported Press Releases issued by the Police Command because they no longer believed anything the Police in Imo State under Abutu said. 

“They were parading innocent people for alleged offences without evidence. Such parades were usually preluded to extrajudicial killings which were rampant. The morgue of the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri was at all times overfilled with dead bodies of Imo youths killed in cold blood.

“There was no single complaint of Police misconduct brought to CP Abutu’s attention that he treated. They never treated any complaints or responded to distress calls except going after IPOB. Abutu encouraged impunity. 

“The new Imo CP, Rabiu Husain appears to be different. He is not engaging in Abutu’s mode of operation. He sounds and comes across as responsible and responsive to public complaints. He appears to be conscious of history and how his actions would be recorded, unlike Abutu.

“He is demonstrating no tolerance for corruption and abuse. He appears to be minded and prepared to police with professionalism and integrity. I think Imo people and the media in the state should give him a chance; support him to change the tone, secure our state and restore our traditional peace.

“I hope, though, that the Federal Government and the Imo State Government would begin to de-escalate and de-radicalise by engaging with legitimate agitators rather than this frequent resort to brute force and militarisation.

“I hope also that agitators go about their actions reasonably, not add to the suffering of the people and be open-minded to accommodate sensible conversations about how to resolve our collective problems. Opportunistic criminal elements have taken cover under legitimate but needlessly criminalised agitations to commit crimes and make the work of the police even more difficult.”

When SaharaReporters contacted Abutu about the allegations made by RULAAC, he debunked them with rhetorical questions and asked for evidence.

“Where do you get such from? What human rights violations? What are the bases? I don’t understand you,” Abutu said.

He later referred SaharaReporters to the state police public relations officer, Michael Abattam for further reactions.

However, all efforts to reach Abattam were futile as he did not answer his calls nor reply to a text message sent to him. 

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