Monday, 13 June 2016

Policemen Torture Student for Demanding to Know Offence

A Mass Communication student of the Lagos State Polytechnic, Taiwo Rasaq, has lamented that some policemen attached to the Owutu Police Division tortured and detained him unlawfully.

Rasaq claimed that the only “crime” he committed was demanding to know the reason for his arrest. The victim, who was apprehended during a raid in the Agric area of Ikorodu, said he parted with N30,000 before he regained his freedom.

PUNCH Metro learnt that Rasaq was about to disembark from a tricycle when the policemen picked him up around 9.30pm on May 30.

He said the policemen arrested 30 others and whisked them away to the station, adding that he was slapped several times when he requested to know his offence.

He said, “On May 30, around 9.30pm, I was coming from Egbeda in a tricycle. As I was about alighting at Ori-Okuta, in the Agric area, some policemen from the Owutu division arrested me. They arrested many people including those that went to buy bread and garri for dinner.

“When we got to the station, we met over 30 boys who had also been arrested like us. I demanded to know why I was arrested, but they did not answer. A few minutes after, they told me to remove my clothes and drop my belongings, but I refused.

“I told them I would not undress until I knew why I was arrested. I asked them to allow me make my statements and call my people. Three of them walked up to me and slapped me several times.

“One of them said, ‘You think you know the law, you will sleep in the cell tonight’.

“I kept telling them that I deserved to know my offence and if they couldn’t tell me, then it’s a kidnap. One of them slapped me again, while others manhandled me, so I kept quiet.”

Rasaq said the policemen allegedly collected between N5,000 and N10,000 from others, but he paid N30,000 for being ‘stubborn’ before he was released.

“We were over 70 that they arrested. They didn’t interrogate us or allow us to write any statement. The following morning, the bargain started from N10,000 and they threatened to move us to the Kirikiri Prisons. People begged and they agreed to take N5,000.

“My people begged them as well, they collected N30,000 from me for being stubborn.

Two other officers said they would not allow me go until I paid them another N1,000 privately, which I did. Though I couldn’t take pictures of the officers, I took their names and tags. They are: Odetunde Taofeek of Force Number 366967 and Iniobong Bassey of Force Number 023349,” he added.

Another victim, Yemi Ajayi, who resides in Igbo Olomu Junction, said he had attempted to explain to the policemen that a 15-year-old boy they arrested was his son’s friend, when he was beaten up and arrested.

He said, “I was in front of my wife’s shop around 9pm when the boy was shouting my name. I went to meet the police and told them who the boy was, but they did not listen. They hit me with the butt of their gun, fired tear gas canisters and threw me inside their van. The DPO was there too; he didn’t listen to me. It was my people that came to pay for my bail the next day and I was taken to a hospital. As I speak with you, I am still in pains.”

The Officer-in-Charge of the Nigeria Police Complaint Response Unit, CSP Abayomi Shogunle, said the raid was to rid Ikorodu of cult groups and violent attacks.

He said, “It is a week-long operation and it is in response to recent cult-related attacks in Ikorodu town. Some of the apprehended persons, found not to be linked to the ongoing investigation, have been released after initial screening, while 120 persons of interest arrested at different locations have been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Yaba.”

The Lagos State Police spokesperson promised to get back to our correspondent on the incident.

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