A Lagos fashion designer Joseph Ejiro has taken to social media to narrate how policemen attached to Festac Division kidnapped, tortured and fleeced him of N190,000.
Ejiro said the rogue cops accosted him around 11 am on November 21 at Second Rainbow where he was tightly handcuffed, beaten and then driven to their post along Seventh Avenue in Festac Town.
Ejiro said the policemen forcefully transferred N185,000 from his Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB) account to a Unity Bank account 0040509699 belonging to Ashamo Oluwasola Samuel, adding that they also took cash sum of N5,000 he had on before letting him go after eight hours in their custody.
The young man’s experience has generated huge public outcry with Nigerians on social media demanding an overhaul of the Nigeria Police.
Already, Police Commissioner Hakeem Odumosu told out Correspondent the matter was already being handled, adding that the culprits have been identified and arrested.
Narrating his ordeal, Ejiro said: “The last few days have been some of the most depressing of my life. I have debated whether or not to talk about this, what the point would be other than rehashing a terrible experience…
“But the kindness and outrage of friends in the last few days have affirmed for me that I am not crazy or overly dramatic for feeling this way. Violated. Expendable. Afraid.
“I was kidnapped, beaten, tortured, threatened with death by members of the @PoliceNG. (Nigeria Police). What does freedom mean when policemen can force you into their van, torture you, and threaten to kill you if you don’t pay ransom?
“November 21, I was at Festac to make a delivery to a client. Heading home, a police officer (wearing a police polo shirt with no name tag) blocked my path at Second Rainbow junction and told me his oga wanted to speak to me. This was around 11 am.
“I asked what the problem was and he said there was no problem, just to come with him. The officer led me to a police minibus parked in front of the petrol station at Second Rainbow junction. There were seven policemen in police polo shirts waiting at the bus.
“The officers asked what was in my bag, grabbed it before I could respond, and went through it. Money, phone charger, earphones.
They demanded that I unlock my phone and give it to them. I asked again what the problem was and why they needed to go through my phone?
“They repeated their order, crowding me in, and even though I was terrified I refused to hand them my phone until they told me why they wanted to go through my phone. The IG is constantly on television saying that such demands are illegal and ultra vires.
“The police officers pushed me into their minibus and took turns beating me. My cries of pain fell on deaf ears.
They handcuffed me and made the cuffs so tight it cut off blood flow and my hands went numb.
“I was screaming in pain and begging them to loosen the cuffs. They refused. They forced my finger onto my fingerprint scanner and unlocked my phone.
“One of them got behind the wheel, started the bus and they took me to their station at 7th Avenue Festac Town police post. On the way, they threatened to kill me and dump my body in a ditch, threatened to frame me with the charge of any crime they deemed fit.
“Having gone through my phone and found nothing incriminating, they took pictures of me with their phones, putting objects in my hands I couldn’t see and taking snapshots.
“Each time I made to look at the things they were putting in my hands, I was slapped and told to look up at the camera. Then, they started demanding money. N500,000.
“For what? I kept asking. What did I do? What was my offense? I kept pleading with them that I did not have N500,000. I didn’t have any money. I had done nothing. They should please let me go.
“The amount kept going down. From N500,000 to N400,000. They were really just pitying me o. I should just do what I was supposed to do so I could leave. Then they came down to N350,000 and held fast there. Hours had passed.
“Eventually, one of them made me unlock my phone again. He opened my GT Bank App on my phone, forced me to unlock the app with my fingerprint, and then they made me transfer N185,000 to this bank account: Ashamo Oluwasola Samuel
Unity Bank 0040509699.
“They said this was the only way I was going to be released. Did I want to end up in prison? They had made me transfer all the money I had in my account, leaving behind just N3,500. Apparently, I was supposed to be grateful for their generosity, that they didn’t wipe me completely clean.
They took the N5,000 cash I had in my bag, leaving me with the N250 change that was in my pocket.
“They finally let me go at about 7 pm. They had robbed me of my money and my day. I had spent eight hours in their custody. The rest of the day went by in a blur. I couldn’t believe what had just happened to me.
“I kept saying I had been arrested by the police and they took money from me, until a friend corrected me: I was kidnapped and made to pay ransom.
“My crime: Being a young man going about his business and having the audacity to walk on the road. I have been in contact with the IG’s office, have called the police public complaints hotline, been directed to their WhatsApp to send my account of everything that happened.
“So far I haven’t gotten any feedback on my complaint. My messages on WhatsApp have been read, but there’s no response. I don’t know what to do anymore. I need my money back. I need those officers to be punished, for the police force to be sanitised. “However, I know this a pipe dream. Nobody really cares. I just need my money back. I’m at the end of my rope right now. Really don’t know what to do, but those police officers cannot keep my money in addition to everything else they took from me.
“I am scared to leave my house now. What if something like this happens again? It’s really sad that after I complained to @gtbank immediately this thing happened, they are yet to write to @UnityBankPlc in respect to this issue. What is the point of keeping money in a bank if they won’t do all in their power to protect your money?”
Responding to a message in respect of the issue, the police chief said the matter was already being investigated, adding that the command would ensure justice was done.