Police torture good Samaritan for trying to free extortion victim
A rights activist, Sunday Oladipupo, has protested against his alleged detention, torture and arraignment by policemen at the Gbagada Police Division in Lagos for trying to free a victim of extortion, Samuel Oyekanmi, from the police net.
The man, who was arraigned on six counts, claimed that the policemen framed him for being the leader of the Eiye Confraternity.
In a petition addressed to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, Oladipupo asked for proper investigation of the case with a view to bringing the errant police officers to book.
We gathered that Oyekanmi was arrested on his way home from a generator repair workshop, where he serves as an apprentice, by operatives of the Anti-cultism Unit of the Lagos State Police Command during a raid in the Itire area of the metropolis on November 27, 2018.
Upon his arrest, the police reportedly requested the sum of N150,000 from the parents of the 23-year-old as bail for his release.
It was gathered that the victim’s parents sought the help of Oladipupo for the release of their son.
Oladipupo noted that while trying to help the parents with the release of their son, his rights were abused and his character was defamed.
The 59-year-old said, “I was informed of the young man’s arrest on Saturday, December 1, 2018. The man’s mother told me that the police requested N150,000 and she had been able to raise only N20,000.
“I reached out to the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Panti, Yaba, Mrs Yetunde Alonge, requesting her help concerning the matter and she said that I send the name of the young man. She got back to me at night to inform me that he had been arraigned the previous day. When I informed the parents of the young man, they insisted that he was still in detention.
“On Sunday, I went to the Gbagada Police Division, requesting to see him. The police would not let me see him but it was confirmed from the detention list that he was still in custody. Three hours after I left the station, I was called to come and bail him. On getting there, an officer, simply identified as ASP Smart, started questioning me and asked that I produce the phone I used to send a message to the Deputy Commissioner of Police.”
The Kwara State indigene said his ordeal started when the ASP saw the text message he sent to the DCP on his mobile phone, adding that he was unlawfully arrested, detained, tortured and arraigned without giving him the opportunity to reach out to his family or lawyer.
He narrated, “The ASP told me that he got the same text message through the Officer in Charge. He took his AK-47 and smashed my left leg with it and threatened that he could afford to kill me and that nothing would come out of it. I was also hit on the head, which resulted in pains on my chest, where I recently had a surgery.
“I was detained for the night and my phones were seized, denying me the opportunity to speak with my family, even when I told them that I needed medication for the pains as regards my recuperation from surgery.
“I was arraigned alongside Oyekanmi on Monday before a Yaba Magistrates’ Court on six counts and I was remanded in prison until my bail conditions were perfected. Oyekanmi is still remanded in the Ikoyi prison as his bail conditions have not been perfected. My two phones are still with the police, because they claimed they were exhibits.”
The rights activist maintained that he was a law-abiding citizen, who was only trying to help the victim, and demanded that justice must take its course in bringing the errant policemen to book and that the command should foot his medical bills.
When the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Chike Oti, was contacted, he said, “Any matter in court is no longer within the jurisdiction of the police. Since he has written a petition, he should allow the Commissioner of Police to act on it and wait for the outcome.
“All he needs to do is to follow up on his petition.”