Some policemen attached to the Osun State Police Command have allegedly dehumanised a bus passenger at the Erinmo Ijesa end of the Iwaraja-Efon Alaaye Road, Osun State.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the policemen, who were in a Hilux van, mounted a checkpoint on the road and extorted money from commercial bus drivers.
After the driver parked, one of the passengers was said to have alighted from the bus to urinate in a bush.
Our correspondent was told that the driver, on discovering that the attention of the policemen had shifted to another vehicle, quickly drove off, abandoning the man that went to urinate.
A monarch, the Owa Tapa of Itapa Ijesha, Dr Olapade Agoro, whose university’s site was around the area, said the abandoned passenger was picked up by the policemen and handcuffed to the patrol van.
He explained that the victim was handcuffed to the van for over two hours during which he soiled himself, as his cry for mercy fell on deaf ears.
He said, “The sad and highly embarrassing incident happened on Sunday (September 10, 2017). The commercial bus the man was travelling in was stopped by the police for the usual ‘palm greasing’. The man came down from the vehicle to urinate.
“However, the deal between the driver and the policemen failed, prompting the police to ask the driver to park properly by the roadside while they attended to another vehicle.
“While they focussed on the other vehicle, the driver used the opportunity to speed off, leaving behind the passenger who went to urinate in the bush. When the passenger came back to discover that the bus had gone, he made enquiries about its whereabouts.
“Immediately the police officers discovered that he was on the bus that sped off, they pounced on him and thereafter handcuffed one of his hands to the back of the police van. The man was left handcuffed to the vehicle between the hours of 11am and 1pm, during which he urinated on himself and wept profusely.”
He said he was angry at the maltreatment of the victim and he challenged the policemen.
Agoro said the cops subsequently released the passenger, who later came to his palace to appreciate the intervention.
“While still crying over his ordeal, he made me to realise that he had no money as the policemen had forcefully removed the last money on him from his pocket. I had to, on compassionate ground, give him N1,000 that enabled him to find his way back to his Aramoko Ekiti place of abode,” he added.
The traditional ruler said the inscription on the patrol van showed it belonged to policemen from the Osun Police Command, adding that fear prevented a resident from taking a clear snapshot of both the victim and the patrol number.
He, however, said he would recognise the men if he saw them again.
“I have a university site around the place, so there is a bump on the road. Because of the bump, vehicles are forced to slow down and the policemen use that as an opportunity to extort money from commercial drivers. Sometimes, they shoot indiscriminately. They have been doing this for a long time, but this incident was appalling.
“The situation of things in this country is terrible; but the policemen should not have tied the man down like an animal. The man urinated on himself and they didn’t care until I challenged them,” he added.
The spokesperson for the state police command, SP Odoro Folashade, said she could not react to the incident because the case had yet to be reported to any police station.
She said, “He should go and report to the nearest police station; then I will call them and find out what happened. What reaction do you want from me when the case has not been reported? He should go and establish his case, and then we will investigate.”