Nonso Ijomah, a taxi driver at the Asaba International Airport, Delta State, has narrated his ordeal at the hands of police officers in search of members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
According to Ijomah, the police officers, who were from Onitsha Police Area Command in the neighboring Anambra State, shot into the air and at a car multiple times at midnight on October 1, in an attempt to stop moving vehicles.
“Indeed, I drove against traffic that night, because I was rushing to the airport to pick up one of my customers,” Ijomah started.
“About 10 of their patrol vehicles followed us and, suddenly, some of them waylaid us while others kept shooting sporadically.”
“The shooting was so intense that they damaged a Sienna car. They thought we were IPOB members and searched my car to see whether they could find any incriminating evidence. I introduced myself to them and even showed my ID card as an airport hired driver.”
Before he could introduce himself, Ijomah said, the officers had slapped his buttocks with a cutlass.
“I couldn’t even sit properly for a while,” he said.
Ijomah, alongside other road users who violated traffic rules, was taken into police custody that midnight. He noted that the officer that sat beside him en route to the police station said he was only lucky to still be alive.
“I was lucky. He said they could have mistaken me for an IPOB member and killed me right there,” Ijomah said. “They didn’t arrest the Sienna driver because bullets had deflated his tyres and the police were not with a tow vehicle.”
Upon further pleas at the station, Ijomah was allowed to go home without his car at about 5 pm on October 1 so he could return the next day to face charges for breaching traffic regulations.
However, the cell guard at the command, who identified himself as Inspector Maudline, told FIJ she was not aware Ijomah was maltreated during the arrest.
“I don’t know anything about that. They just brought them in and later released them,” she said.
Meanwhile, in May, Alkali Baba, the Inspector-General of Police, launched a special operation named ‘Operation Restore Peace’ in Enugu State as part of the plans to protect residents and facilities in the five states of the Southeast.
He had accused IPOB of masterminding unjustifiable violence in the states.
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