Lucky Joseph, a 38-year-old victim of police brutality has said that he paid N30,000 to the men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad last Thursday to secure his freedom when he was arrested on trumped-up charge of possessing Indian hemp.
Accoridng to Sunday Punch, he said the SARS officials stripped him n*ked and dragged him with his manh**d when he resisted arrest.
He also claimed that the officers doused him with two canisters of tear gas.
Lucky Joseph, said his arrest was borne out of prejudice, saying he was familiar with the SARS officials, alleging that they all meet at the joint where Indian hemp is sold and smoked in their neighbourhood at Choba Extension in Obio Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
He alleged that the men of the SARS Unit of the Nigeria Police, who wanted to arrest him, actually had several wraps of marijuana on them, hence his refusal to go with them.
It will be recalled that Joseph’s ordeal was caught on a video that found its way to the web, sequel to which it became Internet sensation, shared by many people on various social medial platforms.
The person who shot the video had claimed that Joseph was rough-handled when he refused to present the receipt of his mobile phone.
However, Sunday Punch which tracked down the victim and spoke to him, authoritatively revealed that the SARS men manhandled Joseph for an entirely different matter.
Some residents of Odums Streets, Choba Extension in Obio Akpor Local Government Area where Joseph was stripped naked by the security operatives, explained that the victim was treated like “a common criminal.”
To prevent his forceful arrest or being shot as threatened by the SARS men, the residents said they contributed N30,000 among themselves and handed it over to the SARS operatives, who allegedly demanded it before Joseph could be released.
The highest donor was alleged to be the owner of a mechanic workshop where Joseph works.
The video and photos posted online indicated that Joseph was stripped naked by the security agents, who insisted that he must go with them, even as residents continued to plead on his behalf.
Sunday Punch met the victim, who explained that the SARS men inflicted machete cuts on him without telling him his offence; adding that he decided not to follow them when he was told that the attempt to arrest him was because he was one of those smoking Indian hemp in the area.
He identified one of the SARS officials as ThankGod, known to some residents of the street.
Narrating his ordeal, he said, “I was just passing and when I got to this point, two SARS officers grabbed me from the back. They then went on to search me.
“They brought out only my handkerchief. When they wanted to put it back into my pocket, I refused and the hand of the officers and the Indian hemp in his hand fell down.
“When that happened, one of them quickly picked it and ordered me to enter inside their vehicle, which I vehemently.
“A huge crowd gathered and insisted that they wanted to know the exact place they were taking me to.
“Four of them (SARS men) began to drag me and stripped me naked. They began to drag me with my manhood, but I did not relent. I also dragged them because I believe I did nothing wrong.
“Two of them later brought out machetes and rifles. I told them that if they wanted to shoot me, they should go ahead and do so. I said that because I was sure I did not commit any offence.
“As we were dragging each other, some wraps of Indian hemp were falling off from their pockets.
“They began to use the machete to inflict injuries on my body and tried to handcuff me, which I resisted.”
It was learnt that when they eventually threw Joseph inside the boot of their car, the residents began to beg for the artisan’s freedom and were asked to pay N30,000.
Joseph maintained that it was after the N30,000 was handed over to the SARS officers that he was eventually released; adding that his entire body was inflicted with injury.
He said before the machete cuts, the security agents had emptied two canisters of teargas on him.
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