About six rogue policemen brutalised Olamide Badejo (not real name), a civil engineer on a project for the Nigerian Army at the Ikeja Military Cantonment, Lagos, on Friday night.
Badejo was accosted at the roundabout opposite Excellence Hotel in Ojodu Berger while he was returning from a friend’s place.
“As I was driving towards Ojota in Maryland, they flashed me down and blocked my car,” he told FIJ.
“They asked for my phone camera and ordered me to identify myself, but they didn’t even wait for me to do that before dragging me down and beating me.”
Badejo said the officers took him on their Sienna space bus, which had no number plate, and drove towards Pen Cinema in the Agege area of Lagos.
“Some other policemen collected my car keys and drove behind us,” he noted. “As we moved, they continued interrogating me about my connection with the Nigerian Army – because I had a military sticker on the windscreen of my car – and also why I had a blockchain app on my phone.
“Like many Nigerians, I don’t trade in cryptocurrency, but I have the app on my phone to gain knowledge on the trends.”
When these policemen confirmed that Badejo was neither an internet fraudster nor impersonating the Nigerian Army with the sticker on his windscreen, they abandoned him with blood stains by the roadside.
It was from there that a passerby took him to a nearby clinic.
Section 34 of the 1999 Constitution provides that every individual is entitled to respect for individual dignity. The Anti-Torture Act also imposes an obligation on the government to ensure that all persons, including suspects, detainees and prisoners, are respected at all times, and that no person under investigation or held in custody is subjected to any form of torture.
The act prescribes a minimum of 25 years imprisonment as the penalty for violators. But despite this, cases of brutality are on the increase in the country. FIJ had reported how police officers either ambushed innocent Nigerians or invaded their homes without a warrant. Even when their illegal search failed to produce indicting evidence, they still extorted some money from their victims.
The police officers beat Badejo with a baton and “an axe often used by cultists”.
“When they first stopped me, they were shouting, “Shebi you people are the ones that wanted to end SARS. One of them cut my body with an axe,” Badejo told FIJ.
Badejo’s family is yet to know of his near-death experience, but the engineer told FIJ he wanted justice from both the Nigerian Army and police.
In a leaked internal letter dated November 23, Lt Gen Farouk Yahaya, the Chief of Army Staff, had asked all formations and units to “forward all recorded incidents of police brutality against personnel of the Nigerian Army”.
In response to the letter that went viral, Usman Alkali Baba, the Inspector-General of Police, assured the Army of sustaining the current warm inter-agency relationship between the police and the Nigerian Army.
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