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18.11.2022 Featured ‘If You Die, You Die for Nothing,’ Police Tell Victim After Causing Accident in Lagos

Published 18th Nov, 2022

By Abimbola Abatta

Matthew Arogundade, a commercial motorcycle rider, has alleged that police officers at the Agbado-Ijaiye station, Lagos State, threatened to kill him after he questioned their inhumane acts.

FIJ learnt that some police officers, numbering six, had caused an accident involving Arogundade and his two passengers on the night of November 7.

The three sustained some injuries from the accident.

Oluwafemi Ogundare, one of the victims, who was bruised on his knee, told FIJ that he and his friend were going home from the office when it happened.

“I went to my friend’s office at Jankara in Ijaye that day, and we left the office at 9:45 pm. We were going home, in Alakuko, so we called the bike man to come and pick us,” he said.

“We were on Ifelodun street when our bike man saw a vehicle reversing. He had to slow down. Then a keke and another bike cornered us, and the bike hit us. The incident happened between 9.45 pm and 10 pm.

“The three of us were still asking them what was happening. It was then we knew they were policemen. They were not in uniform, but they wore vests with ‘anti-one-way’ inscription.

“The way the whole thing happened was so sudden. I sat in the middle while my friend was at the back. I had my backpack with my laptop in it, and my friend had his own too. The three of us landed inside a gutter. The bike man was injured while my friend and I were bruised.”

Ogundare’s bruised knee

POLICE HARASSMENT IS A COMMON PRACTICE

Arogundade, the bike man, said it was common for police officers to harass motorcyclists at night, but he never imagined such a fate would befall him that day.

He informed FIJ that he almost hit his head on the road when the incident happened.

He said, “I have even closed for the day, but because I knew those two passengers, I decided to help them when they called me.”

“On our way going, I saw a bike with two men on it. I did not even know they were police officers. They sped up and pushed us inside a gutter, and I was so shocked. I never imagined a fellow human being would do such a thing to me, although I knew it is a common practice for police to harass road users late in the night.”

The bike man’s injury

As the victims were struggling to get out of the gutter they had fallen into, the police officers went away with Abiodun’s bike, and since they could not go to the station to retrieve the bike that night, Ogundare and his friend had to trek home.

They also observed that some of those policemen in the tricycle were still seizing bikes that night.

“We were on the right lane that night. The police officers were the ones that faced our bike and tried to block us from moving forward. While our bike was trying to manoeuvre, their bike came from behind their keke, hitting and forcing us into the gutter,” said Ogundare.

THREATS, EXTORTION, LIES, LACK OF REMORSE

The next day, Arogundade (the bike man) and a friend went to the police station to retrieve his motorcycle.

He told FIJ that he confronted the police officers and questioned the ill-treatment the officers had subjected the passengers and him to the previous night.

To his bewilderment, the police officers threatened to lock him up and kill him. Not only that, they alleged that he was a robbery suspect and accused him of riding a stolen motorcycle.

“Even after showing them my injury, they did not apologise. I asked them why they lacked human feelings. The next thing, the policemen said ‘if you die, you die for nothing’.

“They alleged that my bike was a stolen bike, so they would take it to Alausa. I was surprised because I went there with documents showing that I was the owner. I refuted that claim.

“My friend told me to be patient because no one could win a police officer, but I said I did not believe that as long as I did nothing wrong. They even said they would lock me up and kill me if I talked anyhow. I told them that if I died, they could not kill my grave.”

FIJ learnt that the policemen initially demanded N25,000 from Arogundade to release his bike to him.

“They said my bike was going to Alausa if I failed to bring N25,000. Later, they said those that seized my bike were not around, that I would need to come back the following day. In the end, they asked me to bring N7,000. That was when they gave me my bike.”

FIJ made several phone calls to Ben Hundeyin, Lagos State police spokesman, for comments on the incident, but he did not answer the calls. He had also not responded to the text message sent to him at press time.

When FIJ called one of the complaint lines of the police, the speaker said: “Right now, in our own file here, we do not have such a complaint. But the PPRO is the one that can confirm such information to a journalist”.

Published 18th Nov, 2022

By Abimbola Abatta

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