Okafor Ofiebor/ Port Harcourt
A pharmacist and Senior Lecturer, at the University of Port Harcourt, Dr Lucky Legbosi Nwidu and Director of Luckpharm Pharmacy at No 93 Owoloma road, Rumuigbo in Obio-Akpor local government area was dehumanized and detained by the Police for rendering medical services to the sick in Port Harcourt.
According to his account which he shared on social media and also made available to journalists in Port Harcourt, he said, “I was in my house on the 8th of May 2020 preparing to deliver an online lecture when I had an uproar from the pharmacy adjacent my house and a call from the nurses alerting me about the invasion of the pharmaceutical shop.
“Initially, I thought that the invaders may be armed robbers when I got to the pharmacy, I saw two armed policemen, a lady in mufti, a policewoman, Mrs. Bulky, dragging the nurse to enter the police van parked in front of the pharmacy from Ozuoba Police Station.”
Explaining further, he requested from the Police Inspector by name Mrs Bulky why they were being arrested and she replied saying, “the governor authorized a total lockdown and why should we open the Pharmacy?
“I introduced myself and let them know that Pharmacist and other health care staff are permitted to run essential duties. They said no, the Governor authorized a total lockdown. I pleaded that they cannot take away my staff, instead, they should arrest me because I permitted them to open the pharmacy to provide essential services in line with the permit from the Ministry of Health.”
All his pleas and explanations fell on deaf ears and he was arrested and taken away in the Ozuoba Police van. Also, a few metres away from the Pharmacy, the Police accosted a young girl and a boy who said they were coming to the Pharmacy to buy drugs because of acute diarrhoea and they were arrested.
“We were taken to the police station at Ozuoba. I insisted to see the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, CSP Ogowoke, Inspector Bulky said she had informed the DPO and he has authorized my detention that I am sabotaging the lockdown. I became confused as I was undressed put inside the cell whose dimensions are 12ft by 12ft.”
He added that “after 1 hour the DPO came to count the number in the cells we were 19 inmates. I pleaded to go in the cell with my face -mask the Police denied me. Every 10 to 20 minutes the Police kept bringing in their culprits. By 1 p.m I pleaded to make call to my family to arrange for my bail. At this time we were 39 inmates.”
According to Dr Lucky Legbosi Nwidu, he later had an altercation with Inspector Bulky, the IPO who attested and detained him when he noticed she was wearing “so many OPM (Omega Power Ministry) bangles on her hand and was being wicked to arrest someone going to fill a prescription for diarrhoea.
“I told her I am a minister in OPM and I teach in the Sunday School Department and what she is doing is contrary to what the church whose bangles are loaded on her hand preach. She got infuriated that I am a fake Pastor of OPM and she will deal with me.”
True to her threat, “after she had dealt with me till 1 p.m and I was inside the cell helpless, I called her and pleaded with her to allow me make a call for someone to come and bail me. She brought me out of the cell gave me my phone I called my family to meet my Barrister to come and bail me. When my Lawyer came, introduce himself, Inspector Bulky was so infuriated at me why do I have to call my Lawyer and not my wife.
“My Lawyer brought the permit from Ministry of Health authorising healthcare personnel to run essential services. He was rebuffed by the DPO and the IPO Bukky, he was told to bring N100,000.00 (Hundred thousand Naira) if not, the Police will send me to quarantine centre.
“From about 2 p.m my Lawyer came, after much pleading, the IPO collected N20,000 and released me from detention. Over 20 years ago I swore to the Pharmacy oath to be a faithful Pharmacist who will provide pharmaceutical services to my community, the major reason for which the Police, because of greed arrested me from home for over seven and half hours without food and water. Nigerians is this fair to me and my profession, Pharmacy?”
Dr Nwidu called for justice to be meted out to the Inspector Bulky and her Colleagues who carried out the illegal detention and the police have to return the money paid to them by his Lawyer and tender apologies to Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and Nigerian Bar Association, NBA for this ill-treatment.
“All the Officers and DPO who meted out this unlawful detention to me need to be sanctioned.”
The distraught UNIPORT Lecturer requested that the incident be made viral until the Inspector General of Police is reached.
Prominent concerned members of Public who shared the story include Mrs Ibim Semenitari, a Veteran Journalist and former Acting MD, NDDC and former Commissioner for Information and Communication, Rivers State.
However in a swift reaction by the Rivers Police Command, through its Spokesman, DSP Nnamdi Omoni,said the attention of the Command had been drawn to a statement credited to Dr Lucky Nwidu,the Director of Luckpharm Pharmacy on the alleged inhuman treatment meted to him by Men of the Ozuoba Police Station which went viral.
The Command said it is aware of the Complaint as posted on Social Media by the said Pharmacist and
that the Commissioner of Police, CP Joseph G Mukan psc (+) on the receipt of the Complaint invited the DPO and his Personnel and had equally contacted the Complainant to hear from them, first hand.
He assured that after hearing from the Parties, he ordered a full-scale investigation into the matter with a view to ascertaining the cause of the infractions and bringing anybody found complicit to book.
According to Omoni, the CP appealed to the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN and indeed any other Professional Bodies to be calm, as he is poised to dealing with the matter on its merit, no matter whose ox is gored.
“He further wishes to state unequivocally and for the umpteenth time that he has lectured his men on the categories of persons and/ or authorities exempted from the EMERGENCY and on the need to be cautious and polite in the discharge of their responsibilities.
CP Mukan enjoined the public to remain calm and allow the law take its full course, while assuring them that the Command under his watch will not condone any act of lawlessness and unprofessionalism by his Men and promised to remain firm and focused in the discharge of his duties in the State.