story of how my life changed involves two cars: a Pathfinder Jeep, and a Toyota Avalon, and SARS.
Everything changed on April 12, 2018, when I returned to Lagos from Anambra State where I had gone to drop a car (the Toyota Avalon) for my uncle.
My own car, a Pathfinder Jeep, was not where I left it, at the Trade Fair Complex on Lagos-Badagry expressway.
I asked the security man at the office where my car was. He said some men from Trade Fair Police Station had come to tow it. So I went to the police station.
There, I met the Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) who said the officers that towed my car had left instructions: Anybody who came in search of the car should be detained. “For what?” I asked. The DCO did not answer.
Instead, I was immediately detained.
A few hours later, four heavy-looking men entered the station. They wore vests with the words ‘Intelligence Response Team (IRT)’. Later, I learned that the IRT was collaborating with the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The IRT said they understood I had a Toyota Avalon in my possession.
The Toyota in question had come through Cotonou and belonged to my uncle, Mr Ozor Kenneth. All I did was drive it to Anambra State, where I parked it for him to collect. I told the officers all of this, even stating that the car had a plate number and all of its documents were intact. They ignored me.
From Trade Fair Police Station, I was transferred to the Lagos State Police Command, Ikeja where the Commanding Officer of SARS, Superintendent Philip, was powerful.
At the Lagos State Police Command, I wrote a statement, telling the officers everything I knew about the car, and that I was innocent, but they did not believe me.
They locked me up in a cell, where for one week, they did not give me food or water.
Later, the officers took me to the station’s backyard, where they tied my hands and legs and hung me in the air for several hours. After they brought me down, I was so weak that I could not stand.
The officers had taken away my phone and switched it off. This meant my family did not know where I was or what was happening to me.
All the officers kept saying was that they would kill me.
Five days later, they took me back to the backyard and hung me in the air again.
The next few days felt like I was in a coma.
When I regained a bit of my strength and the officers saw that I could raise my hand, they took me to the backyard and hung me again.
This was our routine for about two weeks. Starve, hang, repeat.
Then, the four officers who had picked me up from the Trade Fair Police Station put me in their vehicle and drove all the way to Anambra State.
There, the officers went to Awka Police Station, in the capital city of Anambra, to announce their arrival.
I took the officers to the house in Oko town where I had parked the Toyota Avalon. After that, the officers drove back to Badagry, Lagos, where I live.
It felt like I had been kidnapped, tortured, and my brutalized body was now being taken on a tour of Nigeria.
In Badagry, the officers, already armed with a search warrant, swept through my house. There was no one at home. My wife had travelled with our child to her parents in Lagos because of how uncertain things had become. The officers took everything they could find – shoes, clothes, belts, etc.
I spent a month and ten days in detention.
May 22, 2018, was the memorable mark of that dark period.
In the third week of this terrible experience, the officers asked me to call my relatives. I called my father-in-law, who came to my rescue.
My father-in-law and the officers started negotiating my release. Initially, the officers wanted 5 million naira, but they later dropped the price to 2 million. My father-in-law was still unable to raise that amount of money.
Later, I discovered that my wife usually came to see me, but the officers, especially the Investigating Police Officer (IPO), Sergeant Ermond, would send her away because she did not come with any money.
The cost of transportation from Badagry to Ikeja was 800 naira and, due to Lagos’ notorious traffic jams, the journey could linger for several hours.
My sister, who is a lecturer in the Federal Polytechnic in my hometown Oko, got tired of the officers’ shenanigans and, on May 22, 2018, wrote a petition to the then Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, in Abuja.
The IGP ordered the officers to transfer my case to Abuja with all the files and everyone who was involved in the case.
Instead of obeying the IGP’s order, the officers took me to the Samuel Ilori Magistrate Court in the Ogba suburb of Lagos and slapped me with all manner of charges, including forgery. The judge, suspecting foul play, refused to proceed with the case. She asked them to go and change the charges.
But the officers did not want to change the charges. Later, the IPO came to me and said they would give me bail. All I had to do was to call my people and the matter would go away.
I was asked to bring two sureties, one relative and a non-relative, who were senior-level civil servants, and could deposit 400,000 naira. I was able to get one relative but could not get a non-relative. So, I remained imprisoned.
I was remanded in Kirikiri Medium Prison in Lagos. During my time at Kirikiri, somebody inside the prison advised that I go to the High Court because the officers were afraid of it.
My lawyer and I took my case to the Lagos High Court in Igbosere on Lagos Island. We earned a favourable verdict and I finally became a free man on November 28, 2018.
Over six months after I was first kidnapped by the Nigerian police.
I thought my troubles had ended. For where?
When I returned home, my landlord, with whom I had never previously had any issues, asked me to vacate his property. He did not want to rent his house to an ‘ex-convict.’
Me, my wife, and our eight-month-old baby left Lagos on December 15, 2018.
We now live in Nkpor, a small town in Anambra.
SARS finished me. I lost my friends, my job and myself.
I lost my home. You see, I started living in Lagos when I was 13. I went to secondary school and university in Lagos. Lagos was home. Here in my new life in Anambra, there is nothing. If we see food, we eat.
I am currently unemployed. My last job was driving passengers around in a bus, but the bus broke down.
Don’t even ask about the police case. That one has gone cold.
When my uncle went to the officers concerning the vehicle, they kept toying with him. The officers asked him to go and visit me in jail. They did not believe I had been set free, given the hefty charges they had levelled against me.
SARS finished me.
I’m not even asking for justice. The only thing that concerns me right now is finding a bus to drive so that I can feed my family.
That will happen soon by God’s grace.
- God’s Strength In You – Joyce Meyer Daily Devotional For 17th October 2021 October 17, 2021
- Catholic Daily Reading For Sunday 17th October 2021 Online October 17, 2021
- Be Bold About Him – Rhapsody of Realities Devotional For 17th October 2021 By Pastor Chris Oyakhilome October 17, 2021
- Your Gates Are Open – Streams of Joy Daily Devotional For 17th October 2021 By Pastor Jerry Eze October 17, 2021
- Deeper Life Search the Scripture For 17th October 2021 Lesson 1021 (Adult) October 17, 2021
- RCCG Sunday School TEACHERS Manual For 17th October 2021 October 17, 2021
- RCCG Sunday School STUDENTS Manual For 17th October 2021 – Lesson 7 October 17, 2021
- Today’s Open Heaven Devotional For 17th October 2021 – The Unchangeable Changer October 17, 2021
- Wealth Through Wisdom – Seeds of Destiny Daily Devotional 17 October 2021 – October 17, 2021
- Abuja Fans Surprise BBNaija’s Cross As They Welcome Him With Over 200 Power Bikes And Cars October 16, 2021
- FG Declares Public Holiday For Eid-ul-Mawlid Celebration October 16, 2021
- English Premier League Fixtures, Predictions, Results For 16 – 18 October 2021 October 16, 2021
- #EndSARS Anniversary: They Killed Innocent Souls And A Year Later, No One Has Been Punished For Those Heinous Crimes – Falz October 16, 2021
- Revealed! What Pastor Tunde Bakare Discussed With President Buhari During His Visit To Aso Villa October 16, 2021
- Kogi State Government Kicks, Demands Apology From EFCC Over frozen N20B October 16, 2021
- Bayelsa Youths Protests In Warrior Regalia As Oil Firm Allegedly Neglects Their Community (Photos) October 15, 2021
- Jubilation As Pasuma Welcomes First Grandchild (Photo) October 15, 2021
- Chiwetalu Agu Arrives AGN Office In Enugu After His Release Like A Hero (Video) October 15, 2021
- Pastor Tunde Bakare Visits Buhari In Aso Villa (Photos) October 15, 2021
- BBNaija S6: What Made Me Connect Easily With Whitemoney – Emmanuel Reveals October 15, 2021
Entertainment7 days ago
BBNaija S6: Ebuka Opens Up On Housemate Who Could Have Won BBNaija ‘Shine Ya Eye’ Edition
National news4 days ago
PHOTOS: HardCore Biafrans Defy Security Agents After Chiwetalu Agu’s Arrest, Wear IPOB Emblemed Materials
Entertainment7 days ago
BBNaija Angel Opens Up On The Male Housemate She Would Gladly Leave Her Boyfriend For
Faith4 days ago
Lift Up Your Eyes – Streams of Joy Devotional For Wednesday 13th October 2021 By Pastor Jerry Eze
Faith6 days ago
Catholic Daily Mass Reading For 11th October 2021 Online
Entertainment4 days ago
How US Blogger, Gabby Petito Was Strangled To Death – Coroner Reports
National news7 days ago
Why NUPENG Plans To Commence Strike Tomorow (Monday)
Faith3 days ago
Quiet Inner Confidence – Joyce Meyer Devotional For 14th October 2021