A serving police sergeant in Lagos, Mr. Akan Jackson, and another resident have accused some soldiers of subjecting them to extreme torture, and inflicting severe injuries on them.Daily Sun gathered that on Saturday, October 3, along the Alaba International Market Road in Ojo, Lagos, three soldiers believed to be from Ibereko Barracks, Badagry, savagely brutalised Jackson and his friend6. The policeman said he and his friend were subsequently abducted and taken to the riverside where the soldiers threatened to kill them and dump their bodies.  According to the policeman, it all began when a soldier he later identified as Okon who carried no identification whatsoever, accosted him, and started flogging him with a horsewhip. He said the incident happened as he tried to turn his vehicle at a point close to Alaba Market, to avoid a traffic snare. He said as Okon was flogging him, two other soldiers, including one Abu and another, joined in the beating.

Jackson said he tried to identify himself as a policeman, but noted that Okon flew into a rage. He said the soldiers dragged him and his friend out and began pummelling them. He said that it was when Okon removed his overalls that he identified him as a soldier. He said owing to his show of rascality, he had thought that the soldier was an area boy because of the way he conducted himself. And to make matters worse, they beat them up as if they were entertaining the crowd. He said the soldiers had already removed the ranks on their victims’ uniforms before they descended on them. He said the three soldiers later took them to their barracks where one Lieutenant Colonel Gora, after seeing how they were bleeding, directed that the policeman and his friend be treated immediately.  His words:

“At about 4pm on Saturday, October 3, I was driving with my friend along the Alaba International Market road. When I realised that there was traffic build up, I decided to turn and go through the expressway. As I attempted to turn, I saw a man in blue overalls. He accosted me and asked why I wanted to turn. I told him I wanted to get on the expressway. Instantly, he drew his koboko and started flogging me. I asked him why he was doing that, explaining that I was a policeman and that I did not do any wrong, but he was adamant. Not done, he forcefully dragged me out of the vehicle and continued flogging me, insisting that the police were not officers in Nigeria. When I held the koboko, his colleagues instantly came and joined him.  “I told them to ask their colleague what happened rather than beating me, but they didn’t listen. One of them, Abu, gave me a savage head-butt in my eye and instantly I sustained a serious injury. They now forced my friend into their patrol van, and bundled me in too. I asked them where they were taking us to but they warned me to ask no more questions. But I persisted so that I could call my people to our plight. Then one of them said they were going to hang us. When we got close to my station, I saw my colleagues mobilising to rescue me. I wanted to signal to them because the information had already got to the station, but the soldiers pressed me down so that nobody would see me.

They took us to an unknown place near the river where I summoned courage and asked them why they brought us that far. They said they missed their way, but we should thank God they had no jack knife, that they would have killed us and dumped our bodies in the river. Shortly after, they drove us away. When they got to their checking point, they started flogging us again. One of them picked up a pebble and broke my friend’s head. They bundled us out and kept us at a spot. When it grew dark, they forced us into the vehicle, saying that they were taking us to their barracks.   “On arrival at their barracks, they drove directly to their clinic. When one Colonel Gora saw us, he mandated that anybody on duty should start treating us immediately because the wounds they inflicted on us were much. Instantly, they started stitching us.

After the treatment, they asked us to enter their patrol vehicle again, stating that they were taking us to the police station. One of them began to ask me if I wanted them to settle the matter or they should go and lock us up in the station. I asked him why he would lock us up, and challenged him to take us to the station and see whether any policeman would lock us up in the condition that we were.  “At that moment, their boss, Colonel Gora began to blame them, warning that what they did was absolutely wrong. He wondered why they beat us the way they did.

Thereafter, they took us to the Badagry Police Station to establish if I was actually a policeman. “Luckily, the man on duty knew my Station Officer (SO). They asked him if he knew me, and the SO told them that I was serving under him, and that I was supposed to be on night duty. Then they told my SO that something happened, that they were at Badagry Police Station. They later called my DPO who promised to send a patrol vehicle there to meet us. But they refused, saying that they would drop us by themselves.  “When the policeman on duty put us behind the counter, the soldiers went outside and began to discus among them.

Then they called me and told me that Colonel Gora said what happened had already happened, and that we should forget about it.  “What pained me most was that he did not care to listen to me. All he was asking was, why did I fight the soldiers. I asked him how I could fight soldiers in uniform. “At the point they wanted to leave, the officer at the Badagry Police Station told them that the matter did not happen in Badagry, and that they should take us to Ojo or Ajangbadi, but they refused. Then, the colonel left us and drove away. After that, his boys followed him, abandoning us.  “We begged for money to return to Alaba where I abandoned my vehicle. As we were trudging along, we were like mad men.

When we arrived at the spot where I left my vehicle, I noticed that my two phones and the money I had inside the vehicle were missing. My friend also lost his own phones and money. I later made an entry at Ajangbadi Police Station. “I want the Chief of Army Staff to bring these errant soldiers to book. It was when they discovered that I am truly a policeman that they became confused.”  Giving his own account, Jackson’s friend, Mr. Balogun Idris, said he was stripped naked like a common criminal by the soldiers. He said he lost much blood when one of the soldiers broke his head.

“I was surprised at the attitude of the soldiers. Incidents like that happen daily in this area. No day passes without a soldier brutalising a civilian on this Badagry road. They treated us like common criminals, and people stood there to watch. They didn’t even want to know what would happen to us after. They were not even there to know what we lost. They believed they were soldiers and they could do anything and get away with it.”  When our correspondent contacted Colonel Anka, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 81 Division Nigerian Army, Lagos, he told the reporter that there was no one called Colonel Gora in Badagry. He said the army had only one colonel in Badagry, adding that his name was not Gora.

“We don’t have anybody as Colonel Gora at Badagry Barracks. That person is fake! Kindly send me a text a message so that I can reply properly,” he said.Colonel Anka did not respond to the message sent to his mobile line.