A 38-year-old commercial bus driver, Kester Edun, who was handcuffed by some policemen to a patrol van and subjected to inhuman treatment for about seven hours in the Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State, says he did not commit any offence.
PUNCH Metro had reported on Thursday that Edun was handcuffed to the van after his passenger escaped arrest.
The victim, a father of one from Delta State, had earlier been stopped by the security operatives from the Esigie Police Division.
The policemen were said to have searched him but found nothing incriminating on him.
His passenger, however, fled when the security operatives found something on the ground suspected to be hemp.
A resident of the area, Augustine Ogbonmwan, who reportedly captured the brutality meted out to Edun on his mobile phone, was also detained by the police.
Edun said it dawned on him that the policemen were after him when they refused to go after the fleeing passenger.
He said, “The security operatives cuffed my hand to their van and dragged me on the road to compel me to admit to being an accomplice to the passenger.”
He claimed to have lost some amount of money and his phone in the process.
He said, “I did not have any incriminating thing on the bus. When the passenger was searched, they found an empty pack of cigarettes in his pocket. Later, the boy ran away. I asked them to run after him, but they ignored me.
“They handcuffed me to the vehicle, adding that I must accept that I was the boy’s accomplice.
“I told them that I did not know the boy, but they cuffed and dragged me from First (Junction) to Third Junction. The policemen parked and started hitting me and I did not know what happened afterwards because I fainted.”
It was learnt that Edun was later taken to a private hospital by the policemen, where he was handcuffed to a hospital bed and later detained in a cell at the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department for allegedly being a cult member, an allegation he denied.
It was, however, gathered that Edun and Ogbonwan were later released on Wednesday.
The bus driver said, “I am not a cult member. I did not do anything. They should also return my mobile phone and money. I remit N5,000 to the owner of the seized bus every day.”
Meanwhile, it was gathered that the erring policemen had been arrested and detained on the order of the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone 5, Mr. Abubakar Mohammed.
Mohammed told our correspondent that while the zonal command had commenced an investigation into the matter, the detained policemen would face an orderly room trial.
He, however, did not disclose the identities of the policemen.
The AIG said the action of the cops was unprofessional and a violation of the principle of democratic policing.
He said, “We wish to state that the victims, one Kester and Austin Ogbonmwan, are in good health and are cooperating in the investigation.”
Also, the Edo State Government has described the incident as “cruel, inhuman and barbaric.”
It added that that it had ordered a judicial probe into the incident.
The state Governor, Godwin Obaseki, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. John Mayaki, on Thursday, said the law must be implemented decently.
The statement read in part, “This government resolutely believes that while the law must be rigorously enforced, it must be done within the bounds of decency, civility and legality.”