Kenny Owen, an entrepreneur, has accused policemen in Imo State of profiling him as a homosexual and threatening to kill him and his friends.
Via a Twitter thread, Owen, on Monday, said some officers stopped the vehicle he was in and ‘kidnapped’ him and his friends earlier in the day.
He said the officers asked for his identification but while he was showing them a virtual copy, they invaded his privacy and began reading his messages.
His thread read, “So the police ‘Kidnapped’ my friends and I today, September 25th 2022. We were returning from where we went to have lunch and our Bolt was flagged down by a group of policemen. I couldn’t ascertain they were ‘actual’ members of the NPF because they were dressed ‘somehow’.
“As Benjamin Hundeyin (Lagos State Police spokesman) suggested, we greeted them with a smile and we were asked to step out from the vehicle. We stepped down, identified ourselves calmly and one of them asked to see an ID. I didn’t have a physical ID, so I asked if I could show them the one on my Google Drive.
“He accepted and I scrolled through, found it and showed it to him. To my greatest surprise, he took hold of my phone, and started going through my photos (I was calm). He left my gallery and went to my WhatsApp. ‘Excuse me, sir, why are you on my WhatsApp?’ I enquired.”
Owen said while the officer was going through his phone, a ‘heart emoji’ message came from one of his male friends. This message, he said, was interpreted by the police to mean they both shared a romantic relationship between themselves.
He said, “He didn’t give me a response and kept scrolling. At that point, a message popped and he opened it. It was from my doctor friend, and the content of the message was a heart emoji. He started reading my messages and he asked who the doctor was, and I said he is my friend.
“He asked why I sent him ‘I’ve been so busy dear, we will do lunch before I leave this town. Love you’, and I replied, ‘Because I can’. He accused us of being ‘lovers’ and I told him it was not within his right to make such an impertinent stance over a banal text.”
He said the officer handcuffed him and his friends and put them on a bus, threatening to kill them and tell the public they were unknown gunmen.
“Before I could utter another word, he asked for handcuffs and I was perplexed. Handcuffs, why? I asked them to give me my phone so I could make a call, and they refused. Five mins later, their ‘oga’ approached me and said, ‘Tell us how two of una dey run the package’.
“At this point, I was pissed, so I replied, ‘Officer, I have nothing to discuss with you, much so the structure of affinity I have towards my friends’. This man threw me into their bus and started to verbally and physically assault me, that I was being stubborn and he would show me.
“I stood my ground and told him I was not negotiating anything with him. They all jumped on the bus and he asked the driver to move. On our way to the ‘station’, they kept badgering me and then made a statement that threw I and my friends off. He said, ‘We fit even shoot una and claim say na unknown gunmen. Governor go use am shine and una life go finish’. At this juncture, we became mortified and started negotiating and finally reached an agreement. The extortion isn’t the point of this thread, but that utterance.
“I’ve been numb and can’t even place my emotions. How many innocent people have been tagged ‘unknown gunmen’? We are now afraid of people who are supposed to protect us.”
FIJ made several calls to Mike Abattam, spokesman of the state police command, but they were not answered. At press time, he had also not responded to messages sent to him.
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