From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
A 47-year-old man, Anthony Ogbevon yesterday, approached the Edo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry for victims of SARS and related abuses to seek for financial compensation of N50 million for being wrongly paraded as criminal suspect by the police on June 8, 2020.
Addressing Journalists after meeting with the panel members, the petitioner, Mr. Ogbevon said he was arrested and dragged to the police station by some vigilance group on the allegation that he was a kidnapper because he refused to grant them their request.
He said when the police came, instead of investigating the said allegation, he was arrested, detained, and paraded alongside other criminal suspects while his vehicle was impounded by the police.
“It is a case of unlawful seizure of my vehicle. After being arrested, the police did not wait to investigate before they paraded me as a kidnapper and armed robber.
“I was arrested on Sunday, June 7, 2020. On Monday, June 8, I was one of those paraded at the police headquarters as one of the armed robbers and kidnappers. After that, I was thrown back into the cell.
“Then on Tuesday, after about 48 to 60 hours, they now took my statement before going to the scene of crime in Idu village in Upper Sokponba.
“At the end of the day, the recommendation of the Investigating Police Officer, (IPO) clearly vindicated me that I was accused falsely by so-called vigilante in the village there because I was going to my own village to see my aged mother and my farm.
“They begged me to help them take kidnapped victims to Benin and I said no that I was going to my village.
“That was how they pounced on me When I was coming back, I picked a teacher in my village and seven seasonal Hausa farmers and when I got back to Idu village, they said I was the one who disobeyed their chairman and that was how they started beating me, dragged me out, collected my N12,500 and said, I am carrying these kidnappers.
“So they dragged them out and started beating them except the teacher.
“At the end of the day, they now called the police that they have arrested armed robbers and kidnappers.
“By 7pm, we were at the police headquarters
“In the Investigation reports by the IPO, it was started that I was falsely accused because of malice and that I should be considered for bail while the other persons should be referred to OC legal, state CID but the power that be decided otherwise.
“They charged all of us to court, that was how we were taken to court on the 18 of June.
“I remained in the Correctional Centre until the DPP advice came that I had no case to answer.
“When I came out, I demanded for my vehicle, they said no that the court didn’t order that it should be released”, he said.
The victim said he decided to approach the panel for justice.
“We are demanding for N50 million as compensation and consequential order that the vehicle should be released to me”, he said.
However, when the case of the location of the vehicle became a subject of debate, chairman of the panel, Justice Ada Ehigiamusoe (rtd) sent some of the members to the state police command to ascertain whether it was still there or not as claimed by the petitioner
This occurred when the police counsel claimed ignorance of the said whereabouts of the impounded vehicle.