A fashion designer, Joseph Ejiro, has narrated how he was allegedly abducted by some policemen from the Festac Town Police Post and made to pay a ransom before he was released.
It was gathered that Ejiro, who had gone to make a delivery to his client in Festac, was accosted around the Second Rainbow junction on November 21 by one of the cops, who said his boss was waiting in a vehicle to see the fashion designer.
In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Ejiro alleged that he was pushed into the vehicle and beaten by the cops when he refused to give them his phone.
Ejiro further alleged that he was made to transfer the sum of N185,000 to the account of one of the cops before he was released after spending eight hours in their custody.
He tweeted, “The last few days have been some of the most depressing of my life. I have debated whether or not to talk about this, what the point would be other than rehashing a terrible experience…but the kindness and outrage of friends in the last few days have affirmed for me that I am not crazy or overly dramatic for feeling this way. Violated. Expendable. Afraid.
“I was kidnapped, beaten, tortured and threatened with death by members of the @PoliceNG. What does freedom mean when policemen can force you into their van, torture you, and threaten to kill you if you don’t pay ransom?
“I was at Festac to make a delivery to a client on November 21. Heading home, a police officer (wearing a police polo shirt with no name tag) blocked my path at the Second Rainbow junction and told me his oga wanted to speak to me. This was around 11am.
“I asked what the problem was and he said there was no problem, just to come with him. The officer led me to a police minibus parked in front of the petrol station at the Second Rainbow junction. There were seven policemen in police polo shirts waiting in the bus.
“The officers asked what was in my bag, grabbed it before I could respond, and went through it. Money, phone charger, earphones. They demanded that I unlock my phone and give it to them. I asked again what the problem was and why they needed to go through my phone. They repeated their order, crowding me in, and even though I was terrified I refused to hand them my phone until they told me why they wanted to go through my phone. The IG is constantly on television saying that such demands are illegal and ultra vires.
“The police officers pushed me into their minibus and took turns beating me. My cries of pain fell on deaf ears. They handcuffed me and made the cuffs so tight it cut off blood flow and my hands went numb. I was screaming in pain and begging them to loosen the cuffs. They refused and they forced my finger onto my fingerprint scanner and unlocked my phone.
“One of them got behind the wheel, started the bus, and they took me to their station at the 7th Avenue Festac Town Police Post. On the way, they threatened to kill me and dump my body in a ditch, threatened to frame me with the charge of any crime they deemed fit. Having gone through my phone and finding nothing incriminating, they took pictures of me with their phones, putting objects in my hands I could not see and taking snapshots.
“Each time I made to look at the things they were putting in my hands, I was slapped and told to look up at the camera. Then, they started demanding money. 500 thousand naira. For what? I kept asking. What did I do? What was my offence? I kept pleading with them that I did not have 500 thousand naira. I did not have any money. I had done nothing. They should please let me go.
“The amount kept going down. From 500 thousand naira to 400 thousand naira. They were really just pitying me o. I should just do what I was supposed to do so I could leave. Then they came down to 350 thousand naira and held fast there. Hours had passed.
“Eventually, one of them made me unlock my phone again. He opened my GTBank app on my phone, forced me to unlock the app with my fingerprint, and then they made me transfer N185,000 to this bank account: Ashamo Oluwasola Samuel, Unity Bank, 0040509699.
“They said this was the only way I was going to be released. Did I want to end up in prison? They had made me transfer all the money I had in my account, leaving behind just N3,500. Apparently, I was supposed to be grateful for their generosity, that they did not wipe me completely clean.
“They took the N5,000 cash I had in my bag, leaving me with the N250 change that was in my pocket. They finally let me go at about 7pm. They had robbed me of my money and my day. I had spent eight hours in their custody. The rest of the day went by in a blur. I could not believe what had just happened to me. I kept saying I had been arrested by the police and they took money from me until a friend corrected me that I was kidnapped and made to pay a ransom. My crime is being a young man going about his business and having the audacity to walk on the road.”
Ejiro, who demanded justice and a refund of his money, said he had reported the matter on the police public compliants WhatsApp line but had yet to get any response.
When contacted by PUNCH Metro, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, asked Ejiro to come to the command headquarters in Ikeja with the details of the incident and promised that the matter would be investigated.