How I was maltreated by criminals in police cell, by Leadership reporter
THE Senior Correspondent of Leadership Newspaper in Benue State, Mr. Solomon Ayado, on Monday narrated his ordeal in the hands of the police during his arrest and detention by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), saying he lived with criminals and was maltreated in police cell.
Ayado, who was released after two days in detention, narrated his ordeal to his colleagues in Makurdi. He said he was arrested last Saturday at about 9.30 a.m. by police operatives, who claimed they were detailed to Benue by the police Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Force Headquarters, Abuja to investigate the gruesome killings in Katsina-Ala Local Council of the state, including the murder of a Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain.
Ayado, who was detained for two days in the police cell of the Benue State Police Command, Makurdi revealed that the living condition in the place is seriously unhealthy and unpalatable.
The Leadership newspaper correspondent said while he was put behind bars, miscreants and suspected criminals in the cell were allowed to man-handle him. According to Ayado, he was at his home located on New GRA in Makurdi when he received a telephone call from the number (08037870331) and the caller introduced himself as Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), head of investigation panel, sent from the Force Headquarters in Abuja to investigate the killings in Katsina-Ala town of the state.
He said he was told by the caller to come to the CID Unit of the Benue State Police Command for a chat with the investigation panel on some of his stories over the gruesome killings of a PDP chieftain and others in Katsina-Ala, and that he should call the phone number as soon as he was in the place.
Ayado said he immediately called the Commands’ Public Relations Officer, ASP Austin Ezeani, who confirmed the originality of the investigation panel and further directed the reporter to meet him at the Benue State University where he (PPRO) had gone to calm a protest by the students over the death of their colleague.
Ezeani said they must go together. He recalled:”I quickly drove to BSU in my vehicle and met the PPRO, who said the panel had earlier requested him to invite me, but he was yet to do so due to the students’ protest. We later moved from BSU to the police command unit of CID.
I called the phone number and the said head of CID, average height and fair in complexion appeared with his telephone to his ear. He shook hands with me and took me to the office where he introduced another man, who was already seated, a CSP too.
There, we started the chat, very friendly and they said the discussion was only centered on some of the stories, especially on my Facebook post, which the seated CSP read as, “ report reaching me from Katsina-Ala indicates that some persons have been arrested over the killings and have confessed to have been detailed by a former Special Adviser to the former Governor.
That they were given N7 million, anybody there?” “Now, they asked whether I posted the message or not and I said yes, I did. They asked me what was my motive of posting the message and I replied that “as an investigative journalist, whenever we receive reports from an area or from public domain like face book, we can post it so that more people will react to further avail us with more facts or confirm whether something like that really happened in the place.
It is a measure of acquiring information.” “They now asked me whether I knew the former adviser and I said no. They later asked me the source of my information and I declined, but one of them quickly said I must tell them the source of my information otherwise it would be consequential for me.
The head of CID then grabbed my phone; two of them went out and brought a statement sheet that I should state what I narrated in writing.
I wrote and they later brought another sheet but some paragraph was already written with blue pen on the center top of the sheet that “the information can be used against me in court” or something like that. They forced me to sign below it with date and that I should rewrite my statement under the signed portion.”
He further narrated: “They went back to insist that I must reveal the source of the information, now under duress and mixed with threats to life, I fearfully obliged.
I told them that after I had sent the information on the Facebook, a classmate from Katsina-Ala by name Okeke had at the same time called me with his Globacom telephone line that, that was the information going around the whole town.” “They now bundled me into a police Hilux van with five police personnel and we drove to Katsina-Ala.
Some policemen in plain clothes took me to a beer spot opposite First Bank and told me to call Okeke’s line, but unfortunately for me, my classmate said he had travelled out of town to purchase goods and might not come back in a few days.
They took me back to the police division in Katsina-Ala and we drove back to Makurdi.” “We arrived Kimbis Hotel at 8:00p.m. and they brought a laptop computer for me to open my Facebook page in order to print the message. But when we accessed my timeline, the post was not found.
I suspected conspiracy because they had the message with them but was no longer found on my Facebook timeline.” “There, they moved me to police headquarters and put me into the cell at about 10:00 pm.
I stayed with criminals in the cell who manhandled me seriously till between 1:00am and 2:00 am on Monday when a police guard in company of the OC Legal brought a telephone that I should answer, that the call was from the IGP.” “After answering the phone call, they said directives had come that I should be released with immediate effect.
I signed and the OC Legal conveyed me into a Peugeot 406 ash colour vehicle to my house at new GRA. I went back to the station on Monday at about 10:00 a.m. when my telephone was handed over to me by the CSP, who earlier said he was the head of investigation panel sent from Abuja,” he recounted.