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FRSC official harassing tricycle driver

26.09.2023 Featured Delta FRSC Officials Assault Resident for Filming Them During Clash With Tricycle Driver

Published 26th Sep, 2023

By Abimbola Abatta

A group of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) officials have physically assaulted a resident for filming them while damaging the windscreen of a tricycle in Delta State.

The resident, who asked not be named, told FIJ that the officials harassed and beat him on the morning of September 22 along Secretariat Road in the Ughelli area of the state.

“I entered a tricycle from my junction and was heading to Ughelli Market Junction when we saw some road safety officials yards away from their office,” the resident told FIJ.

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One of the FRSC officials.
One of the officials. Photo credit: The resident
One of the FRSC officials.
One of the officials. Photo credit: The resident

FIJ learnt that one of the officials, whom the resident identified as Mr. Anyia, stopped the tricycle driver and requested for his driver’s licence.

The driver would act as though he was searching for the documents before taking the corps members by surprise by zooming off.

Mr. Anyia then resorted to giving the driver a chase with the help of another tricycle.

“While they were struggling to stop the driver, another FRSC official smashed his windscreen and this made him to stop,” the resident said.

“As a passenger, I came out from the tricycle for safety and started recording their actions.

Video of the officials’ confrontation in Delta State. Credit: The resident

“An official then bumped into me and slapped me several times on the cheek. The other officials then joined him in beating me too. After this, they dragged me to their office.

“One Mr. Osunagwu, who was in charge of operations, took the phone that had the videos and ordered my detention. I was in detention for about an hour.”

In a 14-second video obtained by FIJ, the resident could be heard telling the officials, “You don’t have the right to even stop at state road. You are stopping at state road and you are harassing somebody.”

As one of the officials moved closer to the resident, he told the approaching official “to leave him alone and not touch him”.

The situation became chaotic in the last few seconds as it appeared the official was trying to take the phone away.

Part of the bruises on the resident's body
Part of the bruises on the resident’s body

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The resident added that a passerby was also beaten and arrested by the officials while trying to seek his release.

“The officials ended up detaining the two of us in the same guardroom,” the resident said.

“I was threatened, but I managed to find a means to call my uncle who came over and bailed me out. After I was bailed, I was ordered to write an undertaking not to air or publish the pictures and I wrote the statement.

When FIJ inquired about the exact “bail amount” that was paid, the source said his uncle did not disclose the amount to him. He added that his uncle chose not to state the amount because he was afraid the officials “might again come for them.”

When FIJ contacted the FRSC office in Ughelli for comments on the matter, the unit commander for Ughelli, who simply introduced himself as Ken, claimed he was not aware of the incident.

“What you are talking about now, I have not heard about it. In as much as we interact with the public, the road safety is an enlightened corps and incivility is ruled out from our mode of doing work,” Ken said.

“We don’t carry out incivility to any of the road users. If at all it happened, it’s very bad of the person [official] who did that.”

IS IT AN OFFENCE TO RECORD IN PUBLIC?

An earlier report by FIJ revealed how the Edo State police had arrested Vision Nelson, a resident, for recording the arrest of one Brighton Odion in Benin City.

Nelson was arrested in July and charged to court for taking pictures and videos of the arrest with his mobile phone.

The Evbuoriaria Magistrate Court would eventually ruled, stating that, “Videoing or recording in a public place is not an offence, citizens have rights to do recordings anywhere, anytime”.

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Published 26th Sep, 2023

By Abimbola Abatta

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