A 39-year-old man, Marc Nwadi, says he has developed hatred for the Nigeria Police Force after he was framed for armed robbery and sent to the Kirikiri Prison for five years.
Recounting his ordeal to the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing allegations of human rights abuses against the disbanded police Special Anti-Robbery Squad on Saturday, Nwadi said he was 18 years old when he was picked by policemen at a bus stop in the Egbeda area of Lagos State in May 1999.
The petitioner said he had just finished his secondary school education at the time and had the ambition of studying journalism.
He said he came from Abia State to Lagos State to look for his brother who was living then in Egbeda, but on getting to the address given to him at about 9.30 pm, one man told him that his brother no longer lived there.
He said the neighbours did not know where his brother had relocated to and because it was already late, he begged a barber operating in the building to let him pass the night in his shop.
Nwadi said he got up the following morning around 5.30 am and headed for the bus stop with a plan to look for his uncle living in Surulere.
He said he was standing at the bus stop with his traveling bag and a polythene bag alongside other persons waiting for a bus when a police vehicle suddenly appeared and stopped and policemen began to arrest people.
Nwadi said on being picked up, he tried to ask questions but was beaten each time he tried to speak.
He said he and five other persons, including some females, were eventually taken to the Idimu Police Station, where one Mr Friday, a policeman, demanded N100,000 from each of them.
He said soon, others were freed but because he had no money, he was kept in the cell and Friday came every day to beat him.
“It has been 20 years, you can still see those marks on my body. The marks have been a horror. Anytime I pull my clothes, my wife and children will be crying,” Nwadi said.
He said after weeks at Idimu Police Station, Monday called him one day and said he would be transferred to the SARS office in Ikeja, except he could pay N10,000.
He said since he had no money, he was transferred to SARS where the torture was worse.
He said he was eventually paired with someone, tagged an armed robber, arraigned in court, and sent to Kirikiri Prison where he spent five years.
“I can’t see clearly now; I am partially blind. I can also not hear properly because of many slaps,” Nwadi said.
He added that a youth corps member, Eric Ugwuoke, serving in the Nigerian Prison Service, who listened to his story, eventually facilitated his release in October 2004.
“It has been a long time but I cannot forget. They killed my ambition. After my O’ Level, my ambition was to study journalism. Since then, I have hated the Nigeria police,” Nwadi told the retired Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel.
The panel adjourned the matter till December 11.
40 Million Nigerians Use Twitter, Reverse Ban Now —- USAID To Buhari Govt
The United States of America has again urged the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to rethink and rescind the Twitter ban in Nigeria.
This message was conveyed by a top American official and senior diplomat, who is the current administrator of the US Agency for International Development, Samantha Power.
Power, in a tweet on her verified handle on Wednesday, wrote, “There are nearly 40 million Twitter users in #Nigeria, and the country is home to Africa’s largest tech hub.
“This suspension is nothing more than state-sanctioned denial of free speech and should be reversed immediately. #KeepItOn.”
Recall that the Federal Government through the office of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had banned Twitter.
Much later, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, had criminalized anyone accessing the microblogging site through any other means, even though he logged on to Twitter to deactivate his account on Tuesday.
Prominent Nigerians had continued to Tweet, saying the ban is against free speech and fundamental human rights.
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Projects and 176 Concerned Nigerians had on Tuesday filed a suit against the FG in the Economic Community of West African States, urging them to unban the site.
All this was because the president had stated that many of those misbehaving in the country were too young and did not witness the gruesomeness of Nigeria’s 1967-70 war, saying he would “treat them in the language they would understand.”
Why Kidnappers Are Yet To Release Greenfield University Students —– Gumi
Controversial Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi, says the students of Greenfield University kidnapped about two months ago have not been released because their kidnappers have links with Boko Haram.
Mr Gumi said this in an interview with Channels Television on Sunday from Kaduna.
The kidnappers had attacked the private university on April 17 and abducted 20 students, five of whom they have killed.
They have also threatened to kill the others unless a N100 million ransom is paid for their freedom.
In the interview with Channels Television, Mr Gumi said unlike previous cases of abduction in the North-west and North-central states, the kidnappers of the university students have linkage with some elements of Boko Haram in the forest.
“The Greenfield abduction is unique because for the first time we saw a cooperation between some bandits and Boko Haram elements which confirm that Boko Haram are encroaching into the field, which is a bad situation,” Mr Gumi said.
Mr Gumi said Boko Haram had reached out to the abductors of hundreds of students of Government Science College in Kankara, Katsina State, last year with an offer that the schoolboys be sold to them because they could bargain better for ransom.
He said the bandits, however, rejected the offer and eventually released the students after negotiations brokered by Zamfara State governor, Bello Matawalle.
The cleric also said all the students abducted in Kagara, Niger State; Jangebe in Zamfara State, and Federal School of Forestry Mechanisation, Kaduna were released through negotiations.
But the Greenfield abduction is proving difficult because of the linkage between the bandits and Boko Haram, Mr Gumi said.
We Were Ready To Lose Students In Planned Bandits Bombardment —– El-Rufai
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, on Thursday said when 29 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, Kaduna State, were abducted, the plan was to attack and kill the bandits even if it meant some students would die in the process.
El-Rufai added that Kaduna is currently at war and such would only be considered as collateral damage, a price he would be willing to pay instead of paying ransom.
The governor, however, said before this could be done, the bandits hurriedly changed location which led to the students spending over a month in captivity.
The governor said this on Thursday during a webinar organized by the Africa Leadership Group.
The event which was tagged: ‘Developing a Viable Nation 2’ was hosted by Pastor of Trinity House Church, Ituah Ighodalo.
Responding to a question on his refusal to negotiate with bandits, the governor said, “Two days after the abduction of the Afaka young people, I was assured by the air force and the army that they knew where the kidnappers were with the students and they had encircled (them).
“We were going to attack them. We would lose a few students but we would kill all the bandits and we would recover some of the students. That was our plan. That was the plan of the air force and the army… But they slipped through the cordon of the army. That is why they were not attacked.
“We know it is risky, we know in the process we may lose some of the abductees but it is a price we have to pay. This is war, there will always be collateral damage in war and we will rather do that than pay money because paying money has not solved the problem anywhere in the world.”
El-Rufai admitted that he had “lost weight” over the insecurity in Kaduna State which was giving him sleepless nights.
The governor, however, claimed that insecurity in Kaduna was not as bad as Niger, Katsina, and Zamfara but the media only focused attention on his state because it fitted into their narrative of ethnic clashes.
El-Rufai said in Katsina and Niger states, entire villages were sacked by bandits but nothing of such happened in Kaduna.
On why he asked former President Goodluck Jonathan to negotiate with Boko Haram to rescue Chibok girls, the governor stated that he only gave that advice because that was the first time such abduction would take place.
He said Boko Haram is driven by an ideology and not by money in the case of today’s bandits.