Cab Driver tortured for disrespecting police officer in Lagos

A cab driver operating on Falomo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State, has said a Deputy Superintendent of Police, identified simply as Okon, assaulted and chained him to a rail for allegedly disrespecting him.

The cab driver, who identified himself as Obinna, claimed he was tied to a rail that was used to guard a pumping machine in the Falomo Police Hospital for over one hour and pummelled by another policeman on Okon’s instruction.

He added that the torture left him hospitalised.

Obinna, who has been discharged from the hospital, told our correspondent on Thursday that it took the intervention of an unidentified superior police officer for him to be released.

He said, “On Tuesday, I had just got diesel from a fuel station. I was about reversing my car to join the main road when DSP Okon, who was standing with another officer in mufti, asked me to stop.

“He said I should give him my key, but I refused. He then asked the man to enter my car and ordered that I follow him.

“I told him I wanted to know what I did wrong and would not release my car key to him. He asked why I parked in a place not designated for us, but I told him I didn’t park in the wrong place, but trying to reverse.

“He dragged me into the police hospital. I was seriously beaten up. I was chained to the machine rail, while the man in mufti kicked me. I was told that I disrespected the rank of the man by not giving him my key.”

He said the cop vowed to dump him in the Ikoyi Prison, adding that as he was preparing the necessary papers for his detention, the superior police officer saw him where he was chained, and queried Okon.

He was said to have been released by the officer after it was discovered that he had not committed any offence.

The Anambra State indigene said after he was released from the hospital on the second day, Okon still came after him and deflated his car tyres.

Luke Gum, a graduate of Mass Communication from the Lagos State University, who also operates a cab business in the Falomo area, said cab drivers were usually harassed and extorted by policemen.

Gum alleged that officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority were also fond of impounding their vehicles on flimsy excuses.

“I can only compare myself to a criminal when it comes to the kind of treatment we get as cab drivers on this route. Most of us here are graduates, but we became drivers to survive because there is no job. I managed to save money and buy this cab pending when I will get a better job and yet, see what they are doing to us.

“We are arrested at least two times in a day, and made to cough out between N7, 000 and N9, 000 on each occasion.”

Nicodemus Nicolas, who has been driving for about a year in the area, said he was once arrested three times in a day by LASTMA officials for driving slowly in a traffic jam. It was learnt that the cab drivers embarked on a strike action for two days last year to protest their continuous harassment.

The Chairman of the cab drivers, Alhaji Danlami Gana, said his men were usually the target of policemen and agencies of the state government because they did not have a permanent motor park.

He said, “For now, we do not have a permanent park. We are just hustling to survive. We have appealed to the government to give us a space, but we have not got any good response.”

Our correspondent entered the police hospital where DSP Okon is said to have been attached.

He was directed to the office of a senior police officer, who wore the tag, N.D Oki.

After listening to our correspondent, Oki said, “I am not aware of any such thing here.”

Source: Punch




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