Are Nigerians now endangered species in the hands of virtually all military and paramilitary outfits in the country? Civilians have been reportedly brutalized in the past by all arms of the armed forces – Army, Navy, Airforce and the regular culprits, the Nigeria Police. Even other paramilitary bodies have been alleged in the past to be guilty of this ignoble and unprofessional conduct. Never heard the Federal Road Safety Commission involved in this ugly trend until today.
According to a mail received by blogger Linda Ikeji, the person whose swollen face you see in the photos, apparently from battery, was a victim of FRSC officials’ brutality.
The letter is written by the victim’s colleague and we reproduce below (un-edited):
On October 24, at about 10am, Gbolahan Olayinka and his office driver had gone to the Mobil filling station along Agege Motor Road, adjacent FRSC office, Mushin, where they usually buy fuel. On arrival, they observed that some men of the Federal Road Safety Commission where stationed there. Gbolahan and his office driver parked at a place that obviously didn’t obstruct traffic, by the gate of the filling station. Before they could turn an eyelid, one of the officers was by their car and was about to release the tube of their tyre.
Gbolahan challenged him for his action. That was when a slap landed on his face, then another slap from another officer. Before he could say anything in self defense, the officers – three of them – had pounced on him. He was bundled into their vehicle and taken to their office where he was handcuffed to a mast behind their office, his phone was ceased – he was held incommunicado – and beaten mercilessly. He was forced to write a letter of apology (under duress). They made it clear to him that he had no way out; he got threats that he would simply be said to have attacked an officer of the law or that he used charms on someone.
When his brother, who is a lawyer, and other family members got there,the FRSC officials threatened to beat them too. Gbolahan and his people have lugged complaints at the FRSC office in Ojodu and the Commissioner of Police. This inhuman treatment must not be allowed to stand.
How do we curb the excesses of these men in uniform? No doubt there are good ones among them but the activities of the few among them is tarnishing their image.
This allegation should be thoroughly investigated and the guilty brought to book. Enough of ‘bloody civilian’ mentality!