By Osahon Osahon
A man who was alleged to have been wrongly accused and paraded as kidnapper alongside other criminals by men of the Nigeria Police Force is demanding for a N50 million financial compensation as damages caused him by the actions of the operatives.
Anthony Ogbevon told to the Edo state judicial panel of inquiry for victims of SARS and related police abuses on Friday how the police wrongly paraded him as armed robber and kidnapper.
The 47-year-old petitioner who said he was said he was arrested on June 7 by some vigilance group and dragged to the police station on the allegation that he was a kidnapper because he refused to grant them their request.
He further explained that he was paraded at the police command headquarters with other criminal suspects the following day, even before his case was investigated, and his vehicle was impounded by the police.
“It is a case of unlawful seizure of my vehicle. After being arrested, the police did not wait to investigate before they paraded me as a kidnapper and armed robber.
“I was arrested on Sunday, June 7, 2020. On Monday, June 8, I was one of those paraded at the police headquarters as one of the armed robbers and kidnappers. After that, I was thrown back into the cell.
“Then on Tuesday, after about 48 to 60 hours, they now took my statement before going to the scene of crime in Idu village in Upper Sokponba.
“At the end of the day, the recommendation of the Investigating Police Officer (IPO), clearly vindicated me that I was accused falsely by the so-called vigilante in the village.
“They begged me to help them take kidnapped victims to Benin and I said no that I was going to my village.
“That was how they pounced on me when I was coming back. I picked a teacher in my village and seven seasonal Hausa farmers and when I got back to Idu village, they said I was the one who disobeyed their chairman and that was how they started beating me, dragged me out, collected my N12,500 and said, I am carrying these kidnappers.
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“So they dragged them out and started beating them except the teacher.
“At the end of the day, they now called the police that they have arrested armed robbers and kidnappers. By 7pm, we were at the police headquarters
“In the Investigation reports by the IPO, it was started that I was falsely accused because of malice and that I should be considered for bail while the other persons should be referred to OC legal, state CID but the power that be decided otherwise.
“They charged all of us to court, that was how we were taken to court on the 18 of June. I remained in the Correctional Centre until the DPP advice came that I had no case to answer.
“When I came out, I demanded for my vehicle, they said no that the court didn’t order that it should be released,” he said.
Ogbevon said he decided to approach the panel for justice.
“We are demanding for N50 million as compensation and consequential order that the vehicle should be released to me,” he said.
Counsel to the police however claimed ignorance of the whereabouts of the said impounded vehicle.
At this point, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Ada Ehigiamusoe (rtd), sent some members of the panel to the state police command to ascertain whether it was still there or not as claimed by the petitioner.