Horror: How a Lawyer was nearly killed by Police
An Owerri based Legal Practitioner, Mr. Ike Augustine has recounted his ugly ordeal in the hands of the men of the Nigerian Police Force.
In a horrific story made available to BarristerNG, the Owerri branch member of the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA) narrated how some policemen stormed his house at night, dragged him out, assaulted him and almost killed him on their way to the police station.
Below is the lawyer’s story:
ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON MY LIFE, MALICIOUS ARREST AND POLICE ASSAULT: A CRY FOR JUSTICE
Greetings distinguished Senior Advocates, Bar leaders and Colleagues.
This is to humbly bring to your attention the attempt by some paid armed Unprofessional and uncultured policemen who allowed themselves to be used by an individual in an attempt to kill me which resulted in inflicting both mental and psychological torture on me and also the numerous professional losses caused as a result of my unlawful and malicious incarceration.
Trouble all started when I petitioned a tenant based on several threat to my life because he was admonished to adjust putting on his noisy big generator and leaving it to stay till daybreak which as a result created disturbances during the period tenants are supposed to be sleeping or studying. Several calls by the caretaker to call the tenant to order didn’t yield any positive result.
Instead of the tenant honouring several Police invitations based on my Petition at the Police Division, Nekede, the tenant went to the State CID, Owerri and bribed some men at the anti Cultism Unit, made malicious allegations which are nothing but concocted lies and product of imagination.
On Monday night of 4th March, 2019 at about 10pm after I had finished studying my case file in preparation for the matter I had the next day at Customary Court Ahiazu, I heard an earthquaking and thunderous bang on my gate making me to wake up in fear of apprehension. I was commanded at gun point to open my gate. The men were also armed with Matchets. At the point I opened the gate, the fierce looking policemen which I earlier thought were cultists or armed robbers starting beating me with gun butts and Matchets even without any resistance of arrest on my path.
My properties were destroyed, my room ransacked, my phones damaged ( one was damage beyond repair). I lost the N30,000 I kept in my room before the incident. They handcuffed me and forced me into the white bus they came with. I told them that I am a lawyer and I have a matter the next day and many other professional matters to attend to, including the case at the National Industrial Court, Abuja on the 6th of March 2019 but they didn’t heed to my numerous pleas. I managed to take one of my phones with me to contact my Principal but the policemen seized the phone and made a boast that I will be detained till the forthcoming elections and beyond.
While inside the bus they kept beating me mercilessly. When we got to the State CID, I pleaded with them to grant me access to my phone which they refused and commanded me to make a Statement. One on the men whose name I later discovered to be Stanley Nwigbo showed me the malicious complaint, which I denied vehemently in writting and gave details of the legal steps I took before they arrested me. It took my persistence before the said Stanley gave me my phone to contact my Principal. While I was trying to tell my Principal what happened, my phone and other personal effects were collected from me and I was detained immediately. I was kept in detention without food and rendered incommunicado. It took the dogged intervention of my Principal and His Worship Rosmond Ogundu to get me out of detention, after meeting with a Superior Police Officer and he found no merit in the case. His Worship and I insisted that I be granted bail on Self recognizance which they reluctantly conceded after much pressure from the Superior Police Officer, giving them the consequences of illegally detaining me.
I left the State CID that day without my phone, footwear and the key to my house. I was asked to come back the next day to collect them. They said that the IPO in possession of those items wasn’t around.
I am pained and in anguish that I had to go through hell, mental and psychological torture including professional losses. More troubling are professional matters I was supposed to attended to. Calls were coming while in detention and the IPO was picking the calls and telling my clients that I have been detained for an offence that they should get another lawyer. You can imagine the professional damage. There is a brief that was to attract me cool #200,000+ that day but the client because of the urgency had to look for another lawyer to execute the brief.
It is quite unfortunate that rising cases of assault on lawyers and breach of citizens’ fundamental rights by some unprofessionals is on the prowl. Some unprofessional policemen have allowed themselves to be used as agent to commit crimes and breach of fundamental rights of citizens. While in detention, I interacted with detainees, some who told me that they have been in police detention for six months and beyond, some on mere civil transaction and other malicious allegations like my case.
I passionately plead with you my learned brothers to join me in getting these grave infractions redressed and to also assist me in getting Justice for those falsely accused and detained.
I had also called the DCO of the Police Station I earlier lodged my Complaint and he was so bitter and disappointed at the unprofessional conduct by those policemen that allowed themselves to be used. He also promised to commence criminal prosecution against the person that instigated my unlawful and malicious arrest.
I am so pained and crying for justice.
Ike Augustine, Esq.
NBA, Owerri Branch.
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