A trader in the Balogun Market, Lagos State, Karamat Eleha, has accused four policemen attached to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Lagos State Command, of torturing her for allegedly stealing an iPad.
The device was said to be the property of a woman in the Ajah area of the state, who was robbed in May, 2015.
The policemen, led by one Abiola (aka Abbey), had, while searching for the iPad, reportedly stormed a two-storey building in Idumagbo, Lagos Island, where Eleha lives with her mother. It was learnt that she was not at home when the search commenced.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the team searched residents’ apartments, but did not find the item.
As their mission continued, Eleha, who was said to have gone for the fellowship in the neighbourhood, arrived home and was asked about the iPad.
Eleha said, “Around 10.20pm on May 14, I just returned home from a fellowship when the policemen asked me about a missing iPad and I told them I knew nothing about it. They checked my bag, but nothing was found there.”
According to Eleha, the cops insisted that they were getting signals from a tracker, adding that the device was within the compound.
Our correspondent gathered that when the cops insisted on checking an office in the same compound where Eleha’s house is located, the cops could not gain entry because the door was locked.
Eleha said she went to collect the keys to the office from a pastor who owns the office. The victim said she went to a nearby street, Ojo Giwa Street, to collect the keys.
“On getting back, they said their tracker showed that the iPad was around the streets I passed through to the pastor’s house,” she said.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the officials subsequently whisked away the 29-year-old woman to the command headquarters, where she was reportedly stripped Unclad and tortured.
She said, “They took me to a room which they called ‘theatre’. They stripped me Unclad and tortured me for hours. When the pain became unbearable, it occurred to me that I saw a neighbour, Mr. Goriola (Baba Ibeji), giving an iPad to his wife while I was going out in the morning on the fateful day. I told them and they went to arrest the wife that same night. The following day, Baba Ibeji was arrested.
“When they realised that I was bleeding, they took me to a nurse, who charged them N3,000. They later gave the nurse N1,000 to treat me.”
Our correspondent learnt that Eleha was released two days later on May 16 after a resident sent a text message to the Commissioner of Police, Kayode Aderanti.
The resident, who did not want his name in print, described the action of the police as appalling.
He said, “They stormed our compound like night marauders. They said they were from SARS. They were led by one Abiola, popularly called Abbey. They said they were looking for an iPad and that a tracker indicated it was within our building. They wanted to break into the office downstairs, but I cautioned them to wait till daybreak for the occupants to come. We were on it when Eleha returned from the fellowship.
“I told Karamat to go and get the key from the occupant. When she came back, they said the tracker had suddenly indicated the iPad was no longer within the building; that it was going towards Princess and Alkatama streets, where Karamat passed through to collect the key. Even after Baba Ibeji was arrested, they refused to release her. That was why I sent a text message to the commissioner.”
Eleha’s mother, Islamiyat, said a former Officer in charge of SARS, Abba Kyari, was shocked when he saw the legs of her daugher and ordered that she be released immediately.
She said, “Her legs were fractured. That Saturday, it was an officer called Abba Kyari, who ordered them (the cops) to release her immediately. He shouted when he saw the wounds. From there, we took her to a clinic in our area and she was given injections and drugs. When her condition did not improve, we went to the Lagos Island Health Centre. On June 2, I took her to a ‘bone centre’ but I could only afford the bill for treating her left leg.
“I want her to be treated by the police.”
The Lagos State Police spokesperson, DSP Kenneth Nwosu, however, exonerated the cops from the act. He added that she was only invited to the station for interrogation.
He said, “An iPad was stolen and was traced to her compound. It was observed that the iPad was on the streets she (Eleha) passed through and she was invited to the station.
“There was no issue of torture. I don’t know what torture she is talking about.”