More victims have narrated the ordeals they suffered in the hands of police officers in Lagos to the Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by the state government to investigate cases of police abuse of power, brutality and extrajudicial killing.
Narrating his story on Tuesday, Henry Chukwuma, a cab driver at the Muritala Mohammed Airport, said he was almost killed by a police officer at MMA on January 11, 2013.
“I heard a gunshot, I knew something went through me. I waited to see where blood will gush out from. To my greatest surprise, instead of blood gushing out of my body, I saw my intestine gushing out to the left of my abdomen,” Mr Chukwuma told the panel.
Shot at airport
Mr Chukwuma said he got a ride request to the airport on January 11, 2013, from two young men travelling out of the country.
“I was at the car park at Ikeja, Airport road, one Iyare bus came and dropped passengers and these passengers were traveling out of the country. I approached the passengers, they were two boys and traveling out of the country the next morning.
“They said they do not have money for a hotel and want to go straight to the airport to rest till early morning when their flight will leave. I took them down to the International airport and parked at the regular car park where we drop passengers,” he said.
Narrating further, he said a police officer approached him after the dropoff and asked for a tip.
“Normally, he has been doing that, it is not his first time. I know the officer very well. I dipped hand into my chest pocket and brought out some money, I gave him 500 and returned the rest.
“Immediately he saw me returning the money into my chest pocket, he removed my hand and removed the money from my pocket. At the same time, he went for my neck chain. Ever since I have been seeing this police officer, he was always on mufti but on this fateful day, he was on his uniform and with AK 47.”
Mr Chukwuma said he asked the officer why he was behaving that way, and the officer cocked his gun and said he was not joking with him. The officer searched his pocket, took out his phone, wallet, and other sums of money, and asked him to turn around, he told the panel.
“I pleaded with him to give me back my phone and necklace and take the money, he refused and asked me to turn around and start working towards the airport terminal.
“Immediately I turned back, my first step when I was backing, I heard gboah (gunshot) and I knew something went through me. I waited to see where blood will gush out from.
“To my greatest surprise, instead of blood gushing out of my body, I saw my intestine gushing out to the left of my abdomen.
“I used my shirt to hold the intestine not to fall off, but he held my shirt and was dragging me towards a bush path in the car park,” he said.
Mr Chukwuma said a cleaner at the airport came to the park and saw the police officer dragging him.
“She was shouting that the police have killed someone and he should leave me. He left my shirt and ran away, the lady ran away too,” he said.
Mr Chukwuma told the panel that he packed his intestines with his clothes, preventing it from falling and walked to terminal two before he collapsed.
“When I got to terminal two, I collapsed because I was really tired. Some passengers and security officers around came and started asking what happened.
He said when the security officers saw the injury, they rushed him to the hospital immediately where he went through surgery.
The petitioner tendered medical reports, receipts, and other documents to the panel.
Another petitioner, Tobe Ikoro, said he experienced police brutality and extortion on September 5, 2020, on his way to Yaba. He said N100,000 was extorted from him and his friend that was with him.
Mr Ikoro, who runs a clothing brand, said he ordered a Bolt ride going to Yaba from Okota on the aforementioned date, but rather than take the normal route, the driver took Oshodi.
“We saw some men wearing Polo with FSARS written on it, they flagged down the car,” he said.
Mr Ikoro, who was in the company of a friend, Chidera Robinson, said the officers requested their phones and were asking different questions.
“They took my phone and told me to unlock it. Going through it, the officer found Paypal and Flutterwave accounts on my phone. I was trying to explain those are payment options for my business, but he immediately told me to get down from the car.”
Mr Ikoro said he asked for a valid ID card from the officer, who then got angry and called his colleagues to get him out of the vehicle.
“While they were trying to drag me out, I tried to create a scene because I was not exactly sure where they were taking us. I got the attention of passersby and they started gathering asking what was happening, then they threatened to shoot anyone who tried anything.
“Seeing that I was bringing too much attention to them, they decided to drag me back to the car, that was when they took me back to the car,” he said.
The petitioner said he and his friend were inside the car with two officers sitting by their sides and another officer at the front.
He said the driver drove down to National Stadium, and the officers handcuffed them, threatening to shoot them if they scream.
Mr Ikoro further told the panel that the officers requested their ATM cards and N60,000 was withdrawn from his account and another N40, 000 from his friend’s.
“After getting the money, they handed back our phones to us and told us to leave and that if we shout, they were going to shoot,” he told the panel.
He presented a receipt of the Bolt ride he took and the documents showing withdrawals from his account to the panel which were admitted as exhibits.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...