The Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase has continued to read riot act to officers and men of Nigeria Police, especially on handling of civil matters and especially civilians.
During his visit to Ogun State Command in Eleweran, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital as part of his visits to state commands across the nation, the IGP specifically cautioned the officers on handling matters affecting unarmed civilians.
But like ‘a dog that is destined to doom which will not hearken to the hunter’s wisdom call,’ a divisional police officer in charge of Kemta-Idi/Aba police station in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, was the first victim as he allegedly assaulted a pregnant woman identified as Risikat Abosede Bamidele whose husband, Tunde Bamidele, was being detained in the same station and lost her pregnancy in the process.
Investigation by Nigerian Pilot revealed that Mr Bamidele, a supplier of granite and other building materials, was in police net in relation to a dispute between him and a contractor identified as Taofeek Bolaji Akinlade of TSF Nigeria Limited.
Bolaji, a building contractor working at Ladeerin Housing Estate, in Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, was allegedly owing suppliers to the tune of about N1 million for more than a year and when there was obviously no hope in sight, the suppliers devised a means of bringing the contractor, a Lagos-based man to Abeokuta, the decision which later got them into trouble.
Bamidele and other suppliers agreed to stage a fake kidnap scenario of one of Bolaji’s friend named Agbaje in order to force the latter to Abeokuta, while the friend also agreed to be involved on the term that everyone involved will pay him N10, 000 each after collecting their debt from Bolaji.
Bolaji also fell for the ploy by the suppliers and rushed to Abeokuta but was more decisive by inviting police to arrest the fake kidnappers only to find out that it was a ploy to bring him to Abeokuta for him to have a discussion with them on payment plan with his suppliers.
The police officer, finding out that there was no kidnap, took all of them to the station from where they were kept behind bars including Bamidele who is a diabetic and an ulcer patient, and must eat at a particular time, according to the directive of the doctors.
Bamidele said, “What happened was that there’s a contractor that owed me some money, he has a contract at Ladering workers estate and I supply him setting sand, granite and dust and I have a balance of N195, 000 to collect since May 2014.
“Last Friday, Bolaji was to be in a contractors meeting with the management of the Housing Estate and I went there with Mr Olowookere because Bolaji also owes him N329, 000 because he’s one of the suppliers, but we left empty handed.
“Later we were told Bolaji was at the site on that day and before we could get to the place, we couldn’t find him again.
“The new site engineering working presently with Bolaji, Mr Agbaje told me that he had concluded arrangement with other suppliers to fish Bolaji out but that we have to pay N10,000 each. He told us that he had lied to Bolaji that he was kidnapped and that Bolaji would be in town the following day so that we could catch him and that’s how we started the business.
“Bolaji truly came the following day and even called me to arrange for where to meet and we agreed to meet at Iyana Mortuary but as Bolaji was coming, he came in company of two men suspected to be police, one of the men asked me about the whereabouts of the person we kidnapped and I told him we didn’t kidnap anyone.
“I was invited to the station and we all went to Kemta-Idi Aba, along the line, we were asked to write statements and I told them I wasn’t ready to write statement and we were there until around 7pm I told my wife that I was still at the station and she needed to come.”
Bamidele alleged that when his wife came to the station, he handed over his phone to her in order to contact his Abuja based brother to inform him of his ordeal in the hand of police. He said he was still in detention when he heard the DPO cursing his wife and assaulted her severally.
“When she came, I gave out my phone to call my brother and I was still in detention with other guys, I don’t know what happened when my wife was making calls outside what I was hearing from outside was ‘bastard, ‘go inside’, and he was pushing her and she was pregnant, and they now said they should detain my wife also.
“What she was detained, I didn’t know what happened behind the bar and what again hearing ‘bastard, ‘your father and mother are bastards’ and I replied from the cell that he is also a bastard and he commanded one officer to bring me out of the cell and put water on my body and fire me and smoke me with teargas.
“It was at that stage I told him I am an ulcer and diabetic patient and that if he wants to kill me, he should kill me but then they’ve already pulled my cloth, I was left with boxer. My wife slept with Bolaji behind bars while I was with two other colleagues inside the cell.
“On Sunday afternoon, my wife started bleeding, I didn’t know the arrangement between them and they said my wife should be released and I even paid for my wife before she was released. We all paid N25, 000 to the useless man before we were allowed to go.
“She went to the school were she works the following morning but she was rushed back home when she was bleeding in school and we rushed her to the hospital where the doctor confirmed that she lost the pregnancy,” he said.
Nigerian Pilot Sunday also met the victim on her hospital bed at the state hospital and she could only recount her ordeal in a very faint voice as she looked very frail.
Mrs Bamidele, a non-teaching staff of Catholic Comprehensive High School in Onikolobo in Abeokuta said she was at the police station in respect of her husband, Tunde Bamidele who was being held by the police and that she was putting a call across to her brother in law, Vincent Olubodun, when the DPO assaulted her severally for daring to make a call at that hour.
The victim further alleged that the DPO handed her over to a police officer and instructed her detention behind bars.
“When I got to the police station, my husband gave me his phone that I should call his brother, when I was calling, I just saw one man, I never knew he is the DPO and said ‘you’re very stupid, you’re phoning after 8(pm), you don’t know we don’t phone here after 8’, I apologised that I wasn’t aware I shouldn’t call even when other officers were there and didn’t stop me.
“He forcefully took my phone and called a police officer to arrest me, they harassed me and pushed me and my husband had to rush out shouting ‘she’s pregnant, don’t push her,’ that was when the man started slapping and shouting on me.
“During the night, I had serious stomach pains and I informed the police man who told me there was nothing he could do about that and ordered me to go and sleep but I couldn’t sleep.
“I started seeing blood and I had to call him again before my husband gave me money to buy pad which I used and I was released the following day. And I was told that my offence for detaining me was that I didn’t give the phone to the DPO.”
It was gathered that the inspector general of police, who reportedly got information of the incident over newspaper reports had instructed the commissioner to investigate the matter.
The state commissioner of police, Abdulmajid Ali told our correspondent that the said DPO had been removed and summoned to the headquarters for proper investigation.
He said, “The DPO involved had been removed and moved to the state headquarters.”
The commissioner, while reacting to the matter, said he also got to know about the issue from media report. He, however, confirmed that he had called for a discreet investigation into the incident by a team headed by the deputy commissioner of police, Special Investigation and Intelligence Department.
He said, “I promise to make our findings public at the conclusion of the case.”
But the husband of the family, who seems not comfortable with the time the investigation is taking, has threatened to institute a legal action.
He said, “My wife was discharged on December 7, 2015 and the police were in the hospital on about two occasions before my wife was discharged, first to take her statement and later requested for her hospital card, a photocopy of which I took to Eleweran.
“I asked them about the hospital bill of my wife and they told me they are still conducting investigation on it, but when are they going to finish the investigation? All the monies I spent were not mine, some were borrowed.
“It is as if there is a conspiracy, probably because the man involved is a police officer, I don’t know how many weeks they are using to investigate a straight case? I believe they are using the police connection and their tactics to cover the whole issue.
“I am going to take them to court, because my wife wasn’t taken care of, the man who beat my wife hasn’t apologised, what is the purpose of covering him? At least, he had a reason for beating my wife and he should be allowed to talk.
“What I want is justice because the IGP has said no policeman should brutalise a civilian and that is my case, and I want the man to explain why he beat my wife, a senior police officer for that matter.
Personally, I have spent over N200, 000 on my wife as she is still at home not going to work because she complaints about stomach pains and there is no money to take her to the hospital again.”
But reacting to the development, the force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olabisi Kolawole, in a telephone interview assured that the case was still under investigation, adding that the police will not tolerate any act of professional misconduct from any officer.
She said, “I can assure the case is still under investigation, the police will not allow any act of professional misconduct from any officer. I can assure that justice will be done on the matter and the officer will be dealt with if he is found guilty of the allegation.
“We will not allow any citizen of this country to be treated badly.”
What becomes the fate of the family after losing the pregnancy? They have to await the outcome of the police investigation or decision of the court, should they finally make good the threat to sue the police authorities.