• Tony Igele

Tying of Suspect to Van: AIG detains policemen as victims narrates ordeal …Edo Govt orders probe

BENIN CITY - The Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), Zone 5 Mr Abubakar Adamu Mohammed has ordered the detention of policemen who allegedly handcuffed a suspect to police patrol van in Benin City, recently.

The zonal police Chief has also directed the Zonal Crimal Investigation and Intelligence Department (ZCIID) to commence full scale investigation into the incident.

The victims one Odozi Kester and Austin Ogbonmwan are said to be in good health and cooperating in the investigation.

AIG Adamu while condemning the action of the cops described it as “unprofessional which does not depicts the ethics/core values of the Nigeria Police Force”.

“The policemen would be sanctioned as soon as investigation into the matter is concluded”.

This was contained in a statement signed by his spokesman DSP Emeka Iheanacho and made available to journalists in Benin City.

Meanwhile, the suspect, a 38-year-old commercial bus driver, Kester Edun Odozi, who was reportedly handcuffed to a police van in Edo state, has narrated his ordeal in the hands of the embattled policemen.

“That Sunday, as I was driving my bus, one boy begged me to give him a lift. As I got to Third junction, some policemen from the Esigie police division stopped me.‎ With the mind that I did not have any incriminating thing on the bus, I parked and waited. They brought me down and searched me but did not find anything.

“When the boy who was with me was searched, they found an empty pack of cigarettes in his pocket. I did not know what was inside the packet of cigarette. But as soon as they brought the packet out, the boy ran away. I asked them if they would not run after him. But they did not mind him, they were only after‎ me.”

“They ordered me to bring my hand and I asked what the problem was. But they did not listen to me. They handcuffed me to the vehicle and threatened to pull me along with the vehicle, adding that I would accept that I was the boy’s accomplice.

They started hitting me and I did not know what happened afterwards because I fainted on the ground and did not know who was recording. One of them hit me with a wood to see if I was pretending and if I would shout out of pain.‎

“I later saw myself in a hospital on Muritala Mohammed Way‎; I did not know how I got there. I asked the nurse how I got there and why I was handcuffed to the bed. She told me that the police brought me there.

“One of them of the policemen who was not among those that arrested me, came, took me away from the hospital and kept me in a cell at the state CID. They said that I was a cultist.

“‎I am not a cultist and have never been one since I was born. I am not against policemen and their job. I want them to release me, because I did not do anything, and give me my phone and money. I remit N5,000 to the owner of the seized bus every day and he has been calculating it since the incident occurred”. He stated.

The video of the incident which went viral on social media this week attracted reactions as many described the policemen conduct as dehumanizing and uncivilized.

However, the police are yet to make known the offence of the suspect.

Meanwhile, Edo state Government has condemned, in strong terms, the dehumanizing treatment meted to one Kester Edun, who was handcuffed to the back of a moving police van recently, while also ordering a probe into the matter.

The state government also added that those involved in the act would be brought to book.

It would be recalled that material recently circulated the internet containing a man with his left hand cuffed to the back of a moving police van from Sokponba Road to 1st East Circular Junction.

In a statement from the Office of the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, the government condemned the act and restated its commitment to ensuring civil and lawful behaviour.

The statement read in part: “This cruel, inhuman and barbaric treatment is totally unacceptable to the Government of Edo State and is in fact unacceptable in any sane or civilised society. The Governor has directed the Edo State Ministry of Justice to initiate immediate action to identify and prosecute all or any officers or persons found to have been complicit in this outrage”.

Continuing, the government noted that it was inhuman behaviour of that nature that compelled it to ban the activities of non-state actors collecting revenue on the streets as well as Community Development Associations (CDA), who were fond of resorting to violence to obtain illegal levies from innocent citizens.

Meanwhile, the government added that it was committed to ensuring lawful behaviour from those charged with the enforcement of law and order.

“This government resolutely believes that whilst the law must be rigorously enforced, it must be done within the bounds of decency, civility and legality,” the government said.

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