Some policemen attached to the Owutu Police Division have allegedly tortured and detained a Mass Communication student of the Lagos State Polytechnic, Taiwo Rasaq, for demanding to know the reason for his arrest. The lawless policemen apprehended the student during a raid in the Agric area of Ikorodu and extorted N30,000 from him before he regained his freedom because he was 'stubborn'. According to Punch, trouble started when 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.”
He said almost all the other people that were arrested also had to part with huge sums. “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."
He revealed further that he memorized the names and tags of the officers who extorted money from him since he was not allowed to take pictures. He gave the names as Odetunde Taofeek of Force Number 366967 and Iniobong Bassey of Force Number 023349.
Also, another victim who experienced same fate as the student narrated his ordeal in the hands of the policemen 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.”
Many Nigerians have become victims to the unprofessional conduct of policemen in Nigeria and the worst part of it is that many times, these policemen go scot-free with such impunity and continue to harass and extort the citizens they are supposed to protect.
In recent years, the Nigerian Police Force has become a dump-house for all kind of bad eggs who go on to commit all sorts of impunity without being cautioned.