Oliver Jones
Mon, Sep 4, 2023 10:50 PM

Gardener Detained and Exploited: A Cause for Concern in Rivers State

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Gardener Detained and Exploited: A Cause for Concern in Rivers State
The unlawful detention and alleged exploitation of a pregnant gardener in Rivers State, Nigeria, by her employer, an APC chieftain, has raised concerns about human rights and police procedures in the region. The incident highlights the abuse of power by authorities and employers and calls for further scrutiny and action.

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria -- The family of Mercy Elvis, a gardener employed by a former woman leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Rivers State, has raised alarm over her alleged unlawful detention by local police on the directive of her employer, an APC chieftain.

Mrs. Elvis is being detained at the Olu Obasanjo Police Division over an alleged missing water pumping machine at her workplace.

Samuel Aru, her elder brother, told journalists on Saturday, September 2, 2023, that the Investigating Police Officer informed him that Elvis' bail was being withheld until she paid N120,000 -- the cost of the missing machine -- as per her employer's directive.

"I was shocked that a trained police officer would take directives from a complainant and jettison professionalism in the discharge of his duty," Aru said.

Elvis' arrest has garnered further attention because she is pregnant and reportedly unwell.

Aru claimed she has not received any medical attention since her arrest on Thursday, August 31, 2023.

The arrest prompted a response from Mrs. Jane James, a lawyer and member of the Human Rights Committee of the Nigeria Bar Association, who accused the police of overstepping their authority.

"A suspect is supposed to be arraigned within 24 hours of arrest. After 24 hours, if there are no courts within that jurisdiction, the person should be produced before a competent court within 48 hours," James said. "This woman is pregnant. It is against our constitution that anyone arrested is innocent until proven guilty by a competent court after trial."

State police spokesperson Grace Iringe, when reached for comment, offered a different perspective.

She stated that according to the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, of the station where Elvis is held, the woman had been granted bail.

The delay in her release, Iringe said, was due to a "lack of reasonable surety."

The case raises questions about police procedures and human rights in Rivers State, and the family's claims of unjust treatment will likely draw further scrutiny in the coming days.

The incident serves as yet another touchpoint in ongoing conversations around the misuse of power by authorities and employers in Nigeria.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-09-04 News

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