Nnamdi Eze, a plaintiff, recounted how Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) officers reportedly extorted ~3.2 million from him.
He announced this on Tuesday when appearing before members of the Redress and Investigation State Judicial Commission of Lagos, set up to address issues of police violence.
“Led by his counsel, Kingsley Nwachukwu, Eze said, “There was a knock on my door at around 1:20-1:30 a.m., and I heard screaming, open your door, you are surrounded. The torchlight was flickering in my face as I opened the door, and I couldn’t see it. I got three slaps, and they immediately began asking, where is the gun? ”
He said that although he could not clearly see the faces, he realized that some of the intruders were uniformed cops while others were wearing mufti.
“My international passport was demanded, and I gave it to them. I was expected to travel to Imo State the following morning, and I normally travel with cash. I had N700,000 removed for my journey to the village. They picked up the money, handcuffed me and drove me out before we got to the police station of FSARS Adeniji-Adele. They took me into a jail, and they ordered me to contact my people the next morning,’ he said.
But, according to him, for fear of being arrested, his family members declined to turn up. He finally called a neighbor.
“I called a friend who also said he could not come alone, but he would go to Zone 2 and come with an officer. He came with an officer the next day, September 12th, and they told him and the officer that I was an armed thief, when he asked for proof, they later said I was a drug dealer, then they later said I was a yahoo boy (fraudster). They told the officer to go with me to resolve.They asked me for N2.5 million after he left.”
They took me to the first bank to make a withdrawal in Maryland. The cashier called the manager of the bank, who took me to his office and asked if I was in danger. I refuted that, but he wasn’t persuaded, and he said later that there was no money like that in the bank.
“They took me to another Igando First bank and gave me a Gtb account for the $2 million move.
Then they asked me to join the queue to remove another 500,000, so they pulled N3.2m out of me in total. They took me back to Adeniji Adele and at about 6:00 pm they released me. The protest at #ENDSARS allowed me to speak about my experience.”
“The FSARS destroyed my business and brought me down. I have come to the panel knowing that justice will be served”
The witness acknowledged, under cross-examination by police lawyers, Cyril Ejiofor, that he did not report the incident to the authorities, nor did he file a lawsuit.
“When asked if he discovered how the FSARs came to pick him, Eze said, “one of them said they had informants at the bank”.
According to him, he began to withdraw 500,000 from the bank every day after the incident to dissipate all the funds in the account that he claimed was about 7 million.
The cross-examination also showed that one Mr Yusuf was needed to pass the petitioner’s account to one Mr Yusuf.
The petitioner denied being aware of him or doing any business with him.
After that, the police counsel asked the panel to lodge a motion against the account in order to summon Mr. Yusuf and the bank manager to appear before the board as a witness.
Then the matter was adjourned to February, which was one of eight.