Condemnation has continued to trail the arrest of a Rivers State-based oil worker, Casmir Ibe, by operatives of the Imo State Police Command.
Casmir, who was in Imo State to bury his father-in-law, was arrested alongside four others shortly after gunmen razed the Orji Divisional Police Headquarters in Owerri last Tuesday.
The police had paraded the oil worker and four others, and described them as the suspected masterminds of the attack on the station.
Casmir’s family, coursemates and social commentators have flayed the police for allegedly arresting innocent passers-by.
Casmir’s elder brother, Chinedu, told our correspondent that his sibling was on his way to buy a casket for the burial of his father-in-law when he was arrested.
Chinedu said it was laughable and smacked of lack of professionalism for the police to tag his brother, who had a visible means of livelihood, a bandit.
Calling on the police to free him, Chinedu said Casmir’s means of income and the oil company be works for in Rivers State were traceable.
Casmir’s university coursemates have also called on the state Commissioner of Police, Abutu Yaro, to release him.
Uyo Ndukwe, who spoke on behalf of the Class 2013 of Environmental Technology Department of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, said the police were holding an innocent man, who was adding value to society.
Ndukwe said, “I was the class representative from 2008 till we graduated in FUTO. Casmir Ibe is well known to me; he has no questionable character. He works with an oil firm in Bonny, Rivers State. He came to Owerri last week for his father-in-law’s burial. As a matter of fact, I was with him last Thursday and we had an extensive discussion.
“Only for us to hear that he was arrested and paraded as a gunman. We are kindly requesting the governor or whoever is in charge of the arrest to release him. Firstly, we are debunking the despicable falsehood of him being a gunman. Secondly, we are appealing to well-meaning Nigerians to come to his aid so that he will be released.”
When contacted, Yaro said Ibe had the right to defend himself in court.
The CP said the Criminal Code Act empowered the police to arrest any person upon reasonable suspicion.
Yaro said the police under his watch had absolute respect for human rights and urged residents of the state to support security agents in fighting crimes.