A Lagos-based businessman, Peter Danbaba, has accused operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Edo State Police Command of allegedly assaulting and extorting him.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Danbaba was on his way to Benue State alongside his cousin and neighbour on Saturday when he was stopped at a police checkpoint at the Benin bypass.
Danbaba told PUNCH Metro that the policemen labelled him an Internet fraudster and took him to a Point of Sale operator to withdraw money.
The victim alleged that the cops subjected him and the others to inhumane treatment before they were eventually released.
He said, “I was on my way to Benue from Lagos on Saturday with my cousin and neighbour when the police stopped my vehicle at the Benin bypass. There were a lot of police checkpoints on the road and because I look young, the police would stop me and search my phone, but nothing incriminating was in it and while some of them would ask for money, others would threaten to shoot me.
“When we got to the Benin bypass, we met the SARS personnel and they asked me to park my vehicle, which I did. They started assaulting us; my neighbour was handcuffed and when I started begging on his behalf, the officers also threatened to handcuff me.
“They later arrested the three of us and took us to an unknown place and asked me to pay N150,000, which I told them that I did not have; then, they started harassing me by labelling me an Internet fraudster and that I was supposed to have that kind of money because I was driving an SUV.
“I was taken to a PoS stand to withdraw N10,200, which was declined but it was later debited from my account and I was taken to another PoS stand in the area and withdrew N10,000 for them. We were kept in the rain and I almost died. I was beaten and insulted by the officers; one of the cops bears Odjon Airemakhu with force No. 448533.”
Danbaba, who told our correspondent that the experienced traumatised him, expressed the fear of passing through the road when returning to Lagos.
“I’m even afraid of coming back to Lagos, because I don’t know what will happen if I reach the Benin bypass. I’m scared; anywhere I see the police, I don’t feel comfortable with them any longer. The officers shot in the air, just imagine if they had shot me,” he added.
Danbaba said when he attempted to report the incident at a police station in Asaba, he was directed to go back to Edo State to make the report.
He, however, told our correspondent that he reported the incident to the Police Public Complaints Response Unit on Twitter, where he was told that the matter would be investigated.
The police complaint unit tweeted, “Your complaint is hereby acknowledged and investigation has been initiated. Your tracking number is #CRU141132. Thank you for contacting NPF-CRU.”
Danbaba told our correspondent that he had not received any information about the incident since the CRU responded to his compliant.
When PUNCH Metro contacted the Edo State Police Public Relations Officer, Chidi Nwabuzor, he said he was not aware of the incident.
He, however, urged the victim to approach the command so that it could be investigated.
“I’m just receiving this brief from you; I have not heard of it before now. Please encourage the innocent victim to come down to the PPRO’s office so that we can take up the matter from there,” Nwabuzor stated.