A 59-year-old man, Komolafe David, has alleged that a policeman brutally assaulted him and seized his phone after he asked to sit beside the officer in a bus.
David, who identified himself as a Deacon of The Apostolic Church of Nigeria, narrated his ordeal before the Lagos State Judicial Panel set up to probe police brutality and other related matters, on Friday.
He said, “The last three days in the year 2010, my church, The Apostolic Church of Nigeria, organised a three-day early morning prayer. I already attended the first day, and the 30th was the second day. I was coming to attend the prayer meeting. I joined a coaster bus at Mile 2. Upon entry, the bus was full; the only available space was where this policeman was sitting, and I politely asked him to move.
“I was surprised at the sudden rude and violent response from him. Politely, the second time, I told him the seat was large enough to take the two of us, but he responded violently. The driver decided to stop due to the commotion, while the passengers in the bus tried to stop him and rescue me. This, however, only led to him dragging me down forcibly and he started using his purple belt on me. He equally threatened other passengers that he was going to deal with them, that he had his colleagues at Mile 2.
“He also seized my Nokia C1 phone with MTN line, and was regretting he was not carrying his gun. He said he would have shot me to kill me. He dehumanised me. I realised I could no longer go to the church. I wanted justice for the wrong done to me. I also wanted to get back my seized phone.
“In order to get justice, I realised I needed to get his name and force number for identification, but it was still very dark. For this reason, I followed him and he only continued to beat me up with a long iron rod he picked up from an artisan’s shop around Mosalasi bus-stop, causing serious injury to my arm. I told him to allow us go to a nearby police station to settle the matter and he agreed to this.”
David added that the officer tried to escape by boarding a bus but he followed him, despite death threats issued by the policeman.
When asked by Anthony Eze, his counsel, what he did to seek justice, David said he memorised the name on the officer’s uniform which bore ‘Ededi’ with force number ‘443803’, and he reported at some stations in Lagos, including the state headquarters.
“I finally laid my complaint on the 10th of January, 2011, at the Lagos State Command, and the commissioner assigned the investigation to one Sergeant Bello. Sergeant Bello demanded N30,000 but I could not afford it,” he said.
“Sincerely I’m still coping with emotional trauma. I lost my tooth, I lost one of my ears. The lady I wanted to marry saw me as a mad man the day the incident happened, and she could not marry me again. I want justice against Ededi. I want adequate compensation.”
The case was adjourned till February 3, 2021 to allow an Assistant Commissioner of Police appear before the panel.