A trial to determine the innocence of three policemen alleged to have received bribe from some journalists has commenced.
An orderly room trial has commenced for three officers of the Imo State Police Command who reportedly demanded bribe from some journalists.
This was confirmed on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, by police commissioner, Chris Ezike.
The internal arraignment is aimed at determining the innocence of the concerned officers who threatened to imprison the newsmen should they fail to part with a sum of N10,000.
“Their orderly room trial started on Monday.
"As I speak to you, the three policemen are being tried on oath for innocence or otherwise.
“It is a legitimate legal process. It is for fairness and justice.
"I have directed that the complainants should be reached so that they can legalise their complaints. It is unfortunate that they have failed to make a formal report to the police up till now," Ezike told Punch News.
Journalists were intimidated by police
George Williams, one of the newsmen accosted by the cops led by a security operative identified as Inspector Uche, gave an account of the incident which saw a pack of cops intimidate them in a bid to force a bribe of N10,000.
According to Punch, one of the policemen had made it clear to the journalists that they stand the risk of heading to jail if they insist on not parting with the sum.
Williams who was the designated driver, expressed that he had fulfilled road worthiness standard and had provided all the documents the policemen requested.
“They were heavily armed. The inscription, Anti-Cultist Unit, was written on the black shirts they wore. They requested my driving licence and other vehicle particulars, which I gave them.
"They asked us to enter the vehicle and follow them to their office at the SCIID claiming that we were still under investigation.
"I asked them investigation for what, but they did not respond.
“When we got to their office, they searched us and my vehicle. Nothing incriminating was found.
"They left us for about 15 minutes. I met with one of them and told him I was a journalist and that my colleagues were returning to Lagos.
“Their team leader, Inspector Uche, said I should let the police do their job. He said my number plate’s papers were not original and I told him that the documents were issued by the government.
"He then said, ‘When you come to the police, you bring kola; when the police come to you, you give kola.’
“Eventually, they said if we did not want to go to jail, we should bring N10,000. They said they can level any criminal allegation against us.
"I told them that I didn’t have cash. They said I should use an Automated Teller Machine or transfer the money to their account. I said I did not do transfers," Williams told Punch News.
Juachi Ochu, who travelled alongside Williams confirmed the report in a statement offered to Punch.
Their tale of unjust treatment motivated a response from James Anyenakwa, the president of the Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria, who made known the organization's desire to sue the policemen.