Lucky Joseph, a 38-year-old who was allegedly brutalised by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), has said that he paid N30,000 to the men on Thursday, March 6, to secure his freedom when he was arrested on trumped-up charge of possessing Indian hemp.
Joseph stated that the SARS operatives stripped him naked and dragged him with his manhood when he resisted arrest, Punch reports.
According to reports, Skyrock Daily gathered that the victim also claimed that the officers doused him with two canisters of tear gas. He said that his arrest was borne out of prejudice, adding that he was familiar with the SARS officials.
He alleged that he usually meets with them at the joint where Indian hemp is sold and smoked in their neighbourhood at Choba Extension in Obio Akpor local government area of Rivers state, adding that the SARS officials actually had several wraps of mariju*na on them, hence his refusal to go with them.
Some residents of Odums streets, Choba Extension in Obio Akpor local government area where Joseph was stripped naked by the security operatives, said that the victim was treated like “a common criminal”.
They said in order prevent his forceful arrest or being shot as threatened by the SARS officials, they contributed N30,000 among themselves and handed it over to the SARS operatives, who allegedly demanded it before Joseph could be released.
The victim stated that SARS men, one known as Thankgod, inflicted machete cuts on him without telling him his offence, adding that he decided not to follow them when he was told that the attempt to arrest him was because he was one of those smoking Indian hemp in the area.
In his words: “I was just passing and when I got to this point, two SARS officers grabbed me from the back. They then went on to search me.
“They brought out only my handkerchief. When they wanted to put it back into my pocket, I refused and the hand of the officers and the Indian hemp in his hand fell down. When that happened, one of them quickly picked it and ordered me to enter inside their vehicle. A huge crowd gathered and insisted that they wanted to know the exact place they were taking me to.
“Four of them (SARS men) began to drag me and stripped me naked. They began to drag me with my manhood, but I did not relent. I also dragged them because I believe I did nothing wrong. Two of them later brought out machetes and rifles. I told them that if they wanted to shoot me, they should go ahead and do so. I said that because I was sure I did not commit any offence.
“As we were dragging each other, some wraps of Indian hemp were falling off from their pockets. They began to use the machete to inflict injuries on my body and tried to handcuff me, which I resisted.”
It was reported that when they eventually threw Joseph inside the boot of their car, the residents began to beg for his freedom and were asked to pay N30,000. According to Joseph, it was after the N30,000 was handed over to the SARS officers that he was eventually released. He said that his entire body was inflicted with injury, adding that before the machete cuts, the security agents had emptied two canisters of teargas on him.