Sunday, 22 October 2017

The Gestapo-style Arrest of Ifere Paul and the Storm that is coming for you, for all of us —by Firsts Baba Isa

22 October 2017 

A select group of police men flew into Abuja on Thursday. Their flight and other logistics were said to be funded by elements in the Ayade-led Cross River State Government. This select group of policemen camped in a police station and invited Ifere Paul, lying to him that they wanted to question him about a petition he wrote. 

He went to see them. He went to honour police invitation. They grabbed him. Seized his phones. Clamped chains and handcuffs on his hands and legs. They threw him into a dark vehicle... Then they drove all night to Calabar. They arrived 3:00am on Friday morning. They threw him into a dark, quite, dirty and lonely cell. 

On Friday I called the Cross River State Police Commissioner of Police and then made his number available online for others to call him. 

People called him. All over the world. Friends. Activists. Journalists. 

And the Commissioner of Police kept telling us. All of us. The same thing. That Ifere Paul was brazenly arrested because of his Facebook posts. Because he writes on the crimes, cultists activities and impunity happening in Cross River State, his state of origin. 

The CP said Ifere was snatched from Abuja and driven under the cover of the night to Calabar because he use to write about robberies and kidnappings happening in Cross River State... And in most of his posts, he will conclude by saying: "we should expect more of kidnappings and robberies because of the Ayade bad leadership style".

So they took him. In the night. They chained him like an animal. They pressed him down the cold hard floor of a fast moving van. They drove all night. They threw him into a dark cell. BECAUSE HE CRITICISED THE AYADE GOVERNMENT ON FACEBOOK. 

It is alleged that the petition to arrest him was written by the Attorney General of Cross River State and the funds and logistics to brutally arrest him was provided by the Governor's Chief of Staff. 

And you are Silent. 

The Commissioner of Police left Calabar so as to delay his release. It's a game plan. They want the conversation to go like this. 

Higher Authority: CP, release Ifere Paul. 

CP: Yes sir. I am not in Calabar now. I'm on my way back. Once I get there I will release him. 

Then the CP will delay until they arraign Ifere Paul on trump up charges and remand him in prison before the CP gets to Calabar. Then CP will report back: 

CP: Oga, the case has left our hands o. It's now court matter. 

And you are silent. 

Because of his Facebook posts he was arrested. All they have is a sketchy petition. No scintilla of evidence. They are talking about investigation after arrest. 

And you are silent. 

Yes no evidence. They know they cannot prosecute him successfully. Their plan is not to prosecute him: that's why on Monday they are planning to take him to a Magistrate Court on charges of kidnapping and cultism. 

And you are silent. 

The Magistrate Court has no jurisdiction to entertain kidnapping and cultism charges. They know this. Then why are they planning to take him there. Because they don't plan to prosecute him. They don't have evidence. Their plan is to intimidate him, to intimidate critics. 

And you are silent. 

So this is what will happen if they succeed in arraigning him before a jurisdictionless magistrate court on Monday: the Magistrate will announce that he has no powers to prosecute Ifere. Then he will refer the matter to the Director of Public Prosecution who answers to the Attorney General of Cross River State for his opinion. Then Ifere will be sent to Calabar Prisons, waiting for what the AG will say. 

The AG who wrote the petition for Ifere to be arrested will now be the one to decide how and when he will be prosecuted. Of course, he will throw away the file and leave Ifere to rot in prisons. 

And you are silent. 

Well, all of us are not silent. I salute all of you who have been speaking up. All of you who have been calling the CP and even the Governor. I salute you. 

For those of you who are silent. Those who think this is right. I have an announcement for you: THE STORM IS COMING! 

The silence of a people in the face of tyranny empowers the tyrant. 

Be there. In your little corner, doing APC and PDP. Terror, tyranny and dictatorship has no political party. We the people encourages it with our silence. 

This monster you are feeding will feed on you one day if you don't kill it today. You don't need to like someone or agree with them before you demand that they are treated fairly.

This too will pass. Ifere Paul will come out of there bigger than his oppressors. Our legal team will make sure of that. We are leaving no stone unturned. 

When the storm comes for you, may you remember the days of your silence. For surely, the storm you are empowering today will locate you tomorrow. 

First Baba Isa 
is a Legal Practitioner and writes from Abuja. 07037162029

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