Police deny receiving bribe to release suspects in Calabar

The Zone Six Police Command in Calabar has denied receiving the sum of N310,000 from suspects to set them free.

In a statement signed by the command’s public relations officer, SP Nelson Okpabi, it said such a claim by an online newspaper cannot be substantiated.

An online outfit had alleged that men of the Nigeria Police Force, Cross River State Command, had arrested one Mr. Sunday Bassey, the owner of Corner Stone Bush Bar Hotel located at Orida Road, Biase Local Government Area of the state for speaking to the media over the raid on his hotel by armed policemen on January 15, 2024, during which they allegedly extorted N310,000 from suspects and other lodgers. Bassey was said to have been arrested on Tuesday morning alongside other guests in the hotels for daring to speak to newsmen and exposing them.

But the command described the report which has gone viral as misleading, saying, “The claim that they paid the sum of N310,000 for their release cannot be substantiated as they have not mentioned where, who and how they paid the money.”

Okpabi explained that a team of zonal X-Squad which was proceeding to their base in Ikom on 25th January 2024 was flagged down by some motorcyclists and reported that strange faces were seen at the said bush bar, smoking substances suspected to be Indian hemp and other hard drugs.

“On arrival at the brothel, one Paul Ben Manasseh, said to be a citizen journalist, was caught smoking the substances. The owner of the brothel, one Sunday Bassey was also arrested alongside Manasseh and some prostitutes. 168 wraps of substances suspected to be cannabis, cocaine and other hard drugs, plastic bottles containing seeds suspected to be cannabis seeds were recovered and taken to Ikom Division where the team is based,” the statement read.

Zone six disclaimed the allegation that its personnel planted the exhibits in the brothel, saying it was a calculated attempt to divert public attention.

It added that Manasseh and the brothel owner confessed during interrogation and that the public would be kept abreast with developments.

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