By Patrick Obia
A man identified as Idong Tom, has narrated his experience from the hands of men of Nigerian Police force, Area Command, Calabar, Cross River State while waiting to collect his debt from his customer.
Mr. Idong said he was arrested and beaten up for no just course and was threatened with a knife to accept he is a gangster after been searched without exhibit. He added that after he had identified himself as Mechanical Engineer working with M. Saleh and Co ltd. his rights were violated severally.
The victim who was detained for over 24 hours said the Police cannot be his friend because they did not do the right thing by trying to force him to accept he is a criminal and was beaten up and told he was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
His words, “On Monday, the 24th February, 2020, there is this man I worked for. I worked engine for him and he told me to come to his house and collect my money when I closed from work. So, when I got there I did not see him then I decided to call him.
“He told me to wait for him and I was outside the gate sitting by the side, then I saw a van of Policemen coming, when they arrived, they held me and asked me who I am. I identified myself by showing them my identification card and identified myself to them.
“They told me to stand up, I stood up and they searched me. They searched me, searched my wallet and they could not find any exhibit. The next thing, they arrested me, started beating me up. When I struggled with them, one of them went and brought a knife and cutlass and started threatening me that he is going to machete me that am a gangster and when I had identified myself again by who I am, what I do, they refused listening and continued beating me.
“They took me to the station after patrolling with me and arresting other innocent people, they detained me since Monday to Tuesday. Finally, they said they want to get a statement from me, I told them everything yet still they refused to understand me and they started beating me again. After that, they requested for bail of N20, 000 (twenty thousand naira only). At the end, they collected fifteen thousand Naira (N15, 000).”
Expatiating, he revealed “I saw them come with a young man and they said he drove a car with tinted glass and did not have the permit, they brought him to search his house. I was sitting and waiting for my customer who is his neighbour.
“The saw a card in my wallet, they said it is gang paper. I told them it is not, they insisted and told me to shut up and started beating me using fan belt to flog me all over that I should accept that am a gangster and I ask why should I accept when I had identified myself and nothing incriminating was found on me. One of the Policemen told me that I came at the wrong time and they knew I came to collect money and I came at the wrong time. So they started beating me again that I should agree with them, they continued beating me, collected statement, took me into the cell and later gave me my phone to call my people to come bail me.
“How will Nigerian Police be my friend? At least before they arrest someone, you have to searched him and when you find any exhibit you have the right to treat him or her they way you like but this one they didn’t find anything in me apart from ordinary paper they claimed is a bad thing. How can I take them as my friend, I cannot; they are not doing the right thing, they embarrassed me which is not good.”
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