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14 Mar 2018

Nigerians demand Rivers CP’s resignation over man tortured by SARS

Some Nigerians have called for the resignation of the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State Police Command, Ahmad Zaki, for failing to produce operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad who allegedly tortured an artisan, Lucky Joseph.

Joseph was allegedly tortured close to his residence in the Choba Extension, Obio Akpor Local Government Area of the state.

A video showing three SARS operatives beating up the mechanic had gone viral on the Internet last Thursday.

While one slammed him repeatedly with a cutlass, another was seen opening a tear gas canister in his face; the third official held him down.

The victim’s trousers were pulled down, exposing his private parts.

The assault went on until two men intervened towards the end of the one minute video.

Joseph later told PUNCH Metro that some residents contributed N30,000 which they paid the operatives before he was released.

In response to a poll by The PUNCH on some social media platforms, Nigerians were unanimous that the state CP should resign if he could not bring the erring policemen to book.

The question says, “Should the Rivers Commissioner of Police resign for refusing to identify, arrest three rogue policemen who attacked Citizen Lucky with cutlasses? (Like for YES, Retweet for NO)”

As of 8.16pm on Tuesday, about 222 respondents had liked the post while 146 had retweeted it.

One Daveude, with the Twitter handle, @Daveude1, said if such treatment had been meted out to the son of a rich man, the CP would have acted.

He said, “If it had happened to the son of the elite, he would identify them. This is a son of no man. The Commissioner of Police in Rivers should know that he will leave service one day and his children will definitely face the same police that he served.”

Another responder Juelz, @Master4_jee, said, “Till now, our police force is still the worst in the world. The President has confirmed it by telling us that the IG disobeyed him.”

Isah Isah, @Isah_Kubu, expressed surprise that the SARS operatives used a cutlass on the victim.

“Are you serious? Policemen using a machete on a citizen? If they are real police officers in that state command, with that video, the CP will surely fish them out,” he said.

Another reader, Ibrahim Agbodemu, said it would be difficult for SARS operatives to take orders from their superiors after the IG refused the order of the President.

He said, “The President gave a direct order to the IG; he didn’t obey. So, tell me how will SARS operatives listen to the IG?  Nigeria is a comic country where everyone who has power uses it on those inferior to them. What a shameful act by our security operatives.”

On PUNCH Online, 199 readers (94 per cent) voted in favour of the post, while 13 (6 per cent) disagreed.

A reader, Maitala Zakariya, wondered why human rights activists were not showing interest in the case.

He said, “Please, where are all those pro bono and non-governmental organisation lawyers? They should pick up this case and help this poor innocent victim. I am very sure the police won’t pick up (the phone to respond to the allegations) until they meet the victim in question and settle out of court. But I suggest sir, that you constantly berate them until a logical conclusion is reached.”

Another poster, who identified himself only as Echeke, said, “Nigeria police breeding future revolutionists and criminals without knowing it. Too many injustice leads to self defence, which leads to vengeance and crime. I know that the outcome of this too many brutalities will need the Holy Spirit to contain. God help Nigeria.”

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