….Uses policemen from CID Alagbon in Lagos to arrest, detain CRSG officials for months without trial
A former Assistant Inspector General of Police, Joseph Mbu is in the eye of the storm over his activities back home in Cross River that has continued to bring sorrow, tears and blood to his people. Indeed, the former police top shot is presently standing trial for murder after shooting a young man to death during the community masquerade festival. Mbu was fingered in the murder of one Ayuk Etta Ngon in December 2018 and was subsequently charged to court. What made the case more curious that the former AIG refused to release the corpse of the young man to his father who came crying that it should be released. At the end of the day, the father of the late Ayuk Ngon also died of depression over the case.
Meanwhile, Mbu has continued to frustrate the court case by refusing to be served the court papers yet sending a lawyer to court, his counsel also pleaded that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the case since it is coming up in Calabar and not the Local government where the murder happened. Meanwhile, the said Local government has no High Court.
The cantankerous former police top shot has however gone a step further to unseat a traditional ruler in the same community, which ordinarily should have earned him a reprimand from the state Government. Again, the people involved have had to go to court as Mbu has proven to be above the law.
Of recent however, his battle with the State Cocoa department has become the major issue that has pitched him against Government appointees as well as some farmers. The situation is said to be so tense now that if the Police authorities do not call him to order, the whole community might rise up in arms against him. Reports indicated that he has virtually turned his house into an unofficial Police cell where he detains people at will, and those he finds too difficult to keep in his home he brings in men from CID Alagbon Close in Lagos to arrest and take them to Lagos where they spend weeks and even months without trial. A top aide to the State Governor Dr Oscar Ofuka is one of those who have had the full weight of his wrath. He had to call in the Governor to intervene after spending one week at Alagbon close because of a brush with Mbu.
The lingering crisis over cocoa farmland which rightly belongs to the people and which the Government had acquired in the 70’s as cocoa plantation seems to have reached a boiling point in the last couple of months. Governor Ben Ayade in a bid to shore up the revenue of the state, get more youths out of the streets created a Department for Cocoa Development and appointed a Special Adviser who is an expert on the field as well as an indigene of the specific area where the crop could be cultivated in the state to be in charge.
Because of years of neglect, the state government had not been paying dues to those who own the land on which the plantation was so the government negotiated with them while also agreeing with those cultivating the land and arranging for them to pay their dues.
At that point, the land owners as well as those cultivating cocoa within the plantation were happy. This was more so since the Government promised new seedlings that would increase yields.
It was at this point that Mbu appeared on the scene. From our investigations, Mbu was never a farmer cultivating cocoa or one of the land owners. His agents were said to have showed up point to demand that those cultivating the land, with whom the State Government had reached a mutual agreement should stop work. Assuming the whole threat was a huge joke, the famers ignored Mbu. His claim was that the dues meant for the land owners should be paid to him, even though he isn’t among the primordial land owners. As from that moment it has been threats upon threats, arrests and detention in Mbu’s house using uniformed policemen who were supposed to be guarding him.
When he realized that the threats and arrests would not do, he moved against the Special Adviser to the Governor, Dr Oscar Ofuka who is the arrowhead of the Government plan to resuscitate cocoa farming in the State. According to reports, while he was sharing new cocoa seedlings to the farmers, in broad daylight and in full glare of the media, agents of former AIG Joseph Mbu came around to claim that he represents the owners of the land. Even in the presence of same owners who claimed they do not have any relationship whatsoever with him, his agents insisted that the Government should pay the money due for the landowners to the former Police Officer.
The owners have continued to insist that they never signed any documents or in any way put him in charge of their land. They insist that they are the owners and they do not have any relationship with him.
Mbu, working on the premises that the Government had paid them the money due to the landowners saw Ofuka as the arrowhead of the move against him. Weeks back he was abducted in the presence of journalists in the state and forcefully bundled into a vehicle and was about being smuggled out of the State. Because journalists raised alarm, the State Commissioner of Police as well as other double-crossed his abductors and they were forced to release him. Their claim was that he was wanted in Lagos for collecting money on the Cocoa Plantation. Because the State Police command was aware of the case, they knew Mbu was behind it.
At the second attempt they succeeded in taking him away from the State and smuggled him to Cid Department, Alagbon in Lagos where he was detained for days after serious torture. But when they found out that he was telling the truth and that no money had been paid to him or to the farmers who own the land, he was released after Governor Ayade intervened. When the farmers complained bitterly that Mbu had been sending young men, believed to be cultists to threaten them over their farmland, a team was constituted by the Government to checkmate his men. The team’s duty was to check the farms, ensure that the farmers operate in a peaceful environment. They are recognized and paid by the government.
But Mbu moved against them. Henry Etta Orok, the leader of the team that moved round to ensure that the farmers operated peacefully without any molestation was abducted in Cross River early in March, 2022 by policemen sent by Mbu. He was subsequently bundled into a vehicle and driven to Lagos. He is presently being kept at Alagbon. He has been in detention for over a month and he has not been charged to court. No charge has been preferred against him. A court order has been served on the Police to enforce his fundamental human rights after court ruling that he should be produced in Calabar, but the Police has refused to obey the court order.
The farmers whose livelihood is being threatened by Mbu have seen all that is happening as a prove that Mbu wants to use the Police to take over their ancestral land and deny them their only source of livelihood. They are no longer allowed to go to their farms unless they settle Mbu’s Cult boys. The situation is like a time bomb as previous activities of Mbu have shown that the former Assistant Inspector General of Police is now a lord into himself and above the law. Already leaders of the communities as well as youths have threatened to take the law into their hands and face the former AIG squarely so that if he wants to kill them he should, rather than surrender to his lordship over their land