Friday, 2 February 2018

SARS men arrest widow’s 10-year-old son, beat teachers

There seems to be no end in sight in human rights’ violations and brutality of operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) attached to Ojodu Abiodun Police Station, Ogun State.

Less than three weeks after they shot a youth, leading to vandalism of the police station, the operatives, once again, had done the unimaginable.

This time around, they allegedly arrested and detained a 10-year-old boy over accusation that he stole a stabilizer belonging to the police station. They demanded N20,000 for bail, Plasma TV, Star Times, Gotv decoders and a generator from his mother.

The SARS operatives, in the process of attempting to arrest the primary five pupil, Master David Emeka, beat the school’s head teacher black and blue.
Our correspondent gathered that the policemen, who arrested Emeka last Friday, claimed that he stole their stabilizer after some youths attacked their station on January 14.
The policemen, who were dressed in mufti, were said to have stormed Emeka’s school in a commando style, after they had earlier arrested her sister at home.
The sister led them to the school, where they picked the 10-year-old boy.
Immediately the SARS operatives entered into the school premises, they went upstairs and attempted to force their way into the class of the pupil.
When they eventually gained entrance into the boy’s class, they grabbed him.
The head teacher, Mrs. Ayodeji Orojo, who rushed to the policemen to prevent them from taking the pupil away, was given the beaten of her life.
Recalling the event of that Friday vividly like it happened yesterday.

Orojo said that the drama started about 10a.m. She said that all the teachers were in their classes, teaching, when suddenly, two policemen, in plainclothes, walked into Top Teez Nursery and Primary School. The school is a stone throw away from the police station.
Orojo said: “I was attending to a customer, who brought exercise books for the students, when suddenly I heard someone shouting. It was the voice of one of our staff, calling frantically for me. I was scared and jumped out of my office to find out what happening. I saw two men walking upstairs. I approached them; introduced myself as the head teacher and asked how I could help them.
“To my surprise, one of them barked at me, shouting that if I didn’t get out of their way, he would slap me. I became scared; I told the policemen that they couldn’t go upstairs to pick anybody without my consent as the head teacher. I even told them to tell me the name of the person they wanted to see, so that I would send one of the teachers to call the person. But they insisted on going upstairs. Before I knew what was happening, one of them used the butt of his gun to hit me on the chest.”

She further said: “Immediately he hit me with the gun, everything went momentarily blank. I was barely able to see that they were dragging a girl upstairs. The policemen started shouting at the girl to take them to the class of the ‘criminal.’ When they were coming downstairs, I tried to take their pictures.
“One of them noticed that I had taken their picture; he came back and beat me up before collecting my phone. They left with my phone. It was after they had gone that some of the teachers were able to come out of their classes. They phoned the proprietress. It was when she came that we knew the men were actually policemen from Ojodu Abiodun Police Station. We went there and made an official complaint.”
Orojo, who said she had been suffering from heart-related issue, said she went into coma for three days before God brought her back to life.
She said: “I was rushed to two hospitals for treatment, but I was rejected and asked to get a police report before they could attend to me. As I speak with you now, I’m having serious body pains. I’m seeking justice. I also learnt that there was a serious commotion in the school when I was rushed to the hospital. I heard that students were crying; some teachers also sustained injuries from the beaten they received from the policemen. They were attacked, beaten and injured after they tried to prevent the policemen from beating me.”

The lad at the centre of the storm, Emeka, said, he didn’t know anything about the missing stabilizer. He explained that it was his friend, Ebuka, who carried the stabilizer and called him to assist him.
Emeka said: “I was returning from church on the fateful Sunday after some youths attacked Ojodu Abiodun Police Station. I saw my friend, Ebuka, carrying a stabilizer. He asked me to assist him, that he was taking it home. I assisted him and we parted at our street junction. To my surprise, last Friday, I was in school when my elder sister brought policemen to my school. I was arrested and taken to their station. Before they took me away, they beat head teacher. I didn’t steal the stabilizer. I only assisted my friend to take it home. My mother later came to bail me.”
The victim’s mother, Mrs. Chinyere Emeka, a widow, said that Emeka is her only child. The father died five years ago and since then, she had refused to remarry. She has dedicated her life to catering for the boy, in every area she could. She said the policemen’s action was shocking. She said the policemen stormed the school, caused panic, beat up teachers, arrested a minor and detained him.
She said: “When I received the call about my son’s arrest, I rushed down to the station with the assistance of some neighbours. When I got there, the policemen told me I would have to bail my son with N20,000. I told them I didn’t have such an amount of money. I told them that I could only afford N19,000. They asked me to go and bring it. They promised they would release my son by 6p.m., the following day.
To my surprise, when I got there on the agreed day, they refused to grant him bail. They demanded another N10,000, after they had already collected N19,000 from me. I was told that before they would close the case finally, I have to buy a Plasma TV, Start Times and Gotv decoders as well as a generator for them.”

According to the SARS operatives, as long as Chinyere refused to get those items listed, they would return to arrest Emeka any day, anytime. The woman is now living in fear.
The Ogun Statet Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) SP. Abimbola Oyeyemi, who confirmed the story said denied that such incident ever happened.
His words: ” We don’t have such a record. We didn’t arrest or detained any minor at that police station. Besides, we dont have SARS operatives at that station since the last incident, when the station was attacked by some youths.
“The only station we still have SARS operatives is Ajuwon Police Station.”


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