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THISDAY Driver Battered, Detained by Lagos Agents

Posted by By Agha Ibiam on 2008/07/19 | Views: 2102 |

THISDAY Driver Battered, Detained by Lagos Agents

While some people were greeted with good morning at 6.20am on Sunday 14 July, for Mr. Lanre Akande, 35, it was a different story.

While some people were greeted with good morning at 6.20am on Sunday 14 July, for Mr. Lanre Akande, 35, it was a different story. He was greeted with beatings and blows in the hands of the riot policemen attached to the Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences Squad.
The punches deposited on his face are still visible even after he had received some treatments at the Lagoon Hospital, Apapa, Lagos. “They almost took my life,” he said.
Akande, a driver with THISDAY Newspapers, explained that he had just conveyed the contingent of American pop star who performed at THISDAY Music and Fashion Festival, Chris Brown, to the airport.
On his way back to the office, he noticed that the bus was running short of gas. In an attempt to go to the nearest filling stating to re-fill the tank and avoid the engine going dead and obstructing traffic, he veered into the BRT lane to connect the service lane. This was at Town Planning Bus-stop, Ilupeju.
However, no sooner had he entered the lane, than the bus stopped completely. To avoid total blockage of the road, Akande, with the assistance of other passersby, tried pushing the bus out of the BRT lane.
As soon as the Special Offences Squad came, he said, they pounced on him and beat him black and blue – although that is not the punishment prescribed by law. His phone was seized, so that he would not make any contact with the office, as he was taken away in a Black Maria.
“They did not allow me to explain myself. Immediately, they started beating me. I was beaten mercilessly. They ‘jacked’ me up and one of the officers seized my phone and I was finally thrown inside the Black Maria,” Akande said.
The beating was not a one-man affair as street urchins also known as Area Boys attached to the officers also joined in the beating.
One of the officers, according to him, brushed him with a stick, while several blows and punches were thrown at him. He said even though they saw his bus and could identify that he works with THISDAY, all his pleas for mercy fell on deaf ears.
Apart from beating Akande mercilessly, the staff bus was towed to the Government House, Alausa, while the Squad drove him round town.
“They drove me to Orile, Mile 2 and turned at Mile 2 and later took me to Apapa-Oshodi road and finally to their office. I was caged for six hours inside the Black Maria and was again detained for two hours at the Government House,” he said.
His release from Alausa did not come easy, as he was asked to pay N50,000 if he must go with the bus. Akande, who is still in pains, said he was dumfounded at the “high level of wickedness” meted out to him by the squad.
“Are the officers working for personal gains or for the success of the state government?” he asked.
After the brutality, Akande was hospitalised, while he spent about two days at home recuperating.
“I was attended to at the Lagoon Hospital Apapa as a result of the beating I received from them. I have also spent two days at home trying to recuperate since I could not walk and eat well. As I am speaking with you, I am still tired and the wounds on my neck have not healed, while the pains are still lingering,” he said.

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