The family of a 42-year-old man, Remijus Ekpe, has accused the police of allegedly torturing him to coma for unknown reasons.
Ekpe’s brother, Charles, said the incident occurred on October 6, after the victim was arrested during a raid at Total Joint in Ajah, Lagos where he was relaxing…
Charles alleged that policemen from the Anti-Fraud unit at Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID), Alagbon in Ikoyi, Lagos tortured Ekpe and bundled him to his home where they hit his head on the wall and he became unconscious.
But the police have denied the allegation, insisting that the man, who was arrested for alleged cyber fraud, was high on drugs and deliberately fell after he realised detectives had found documents allegedly linked to fraud, as well as substances suspected to be hard drugs in his locker.
In an interview with The Nation, Charles said Ekpe suffered a blood clot on his brain as a result of the push, adding that a surgery was conducted on him before he could open his eyes.
He said: “As of Monday morning, he had opened his eyes but could still not talk. He was tortured by the policemen, who arrested him during a raid. Till now, they have not told us what he did and why he was treated that way.
“From the account of his wife, the policemen, who were three, arrested him at a place called Total Joint in Ajah.
“The police beat him up, asked him what he does for a living. He told them he knew his rights and that he had done nothing wrong. He has lived in Spain for some years before relocating to Nigeria.
“When he said he knew his rights, they dragged him into his car and took him to his house where they beat him to coma.
“The wife said they ransacked the house and took some documents, including the house documents. She said they took other valuables.
“She shouted that they were kidnappers and they beat her too. They kicked my brother and he hit his head on the wall and slumped.
“When they discovered that he was in coma, they took him to Alagbon where their office is and from there to Police Hospital in Falomo. He was handcuffed while in hospital for four days (Sunday to Wednesday).
“I met the doctor and asked what was wrong with him, but he said he was just pretending. I asked the doctor how it was possible that a man who had been ‘pooing’, ‘peeing’ on his body for four days was pretending.
“I raised the alarm, so they released him to me. We took him to General Hospital, Epe but they rejected him. They told us he had brain damage and referred us to Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba.
“It was there that an X-ray was done and the result is that he has a clot and his skull has been opened.
“My brother sells frozen foods. The policemen that came said his shop is worth over N5million. They said he is a drug addict. My brother lived in Spain for nine years and never had a case.”
Asked what the family desired, Charles said they wanted compensation from the police.
He said: “We want compensation and if anything happens to my brother, the police will take care of the family and give them N100million. We will sue the police and demand N100m.
“Our lawyer has written the Police Hospital in Falomo for the full medical report of my brother because he was taken to the hospital unconscious on Sunday and released unconscious on Wednesday.”
But Police Commissioner in charge of Anti-Fraud Nkem Okoro described the family’s allegation as a distraction aimed at stalling investigation.
He alleged that Ekpe was a suspected fraudster and a leader of a syndicate that had over the years, hacked documents from government and private institutions, which they used to steal billions of naira.
Okoro said detectives were sent to arrest Ekpe after Ifeanyi, alias Lakotai, still in police net, fingered him.
He said: “Ifeanyi builds domains similar to those of corporate organisations such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Western Union and even the Presidency, and then they hack confidential information and start pushing out money, issuing letters.
“They have swindled billions from victims. So, when we built this case, operatives moved and arrested the websites designer. “He confessed he had people who asked him to design the websites and fingered Ekpe. Our men were sent to get Ekpe for interrogation. Initial background findings indicated he was jailed in Spain for three years.
“So, when the officers found him, they took him to his house. He was not even handcuffed. He led the officers to his residence. At the time they got to his house, his wife was not at home.
“They asked him to call his wife, which he did, but she said she was at Area ‘J’ Police Command. I was in touch with my men all through. They told the wife to start coming home.
“While searching his house, they saw documents of buildings and substances suspected to the hard drugs. Immediately he noticed they had seen the drugs, the suspect said he did not want to suffer what he went through in Spain. He slumped and hit his head.
“No one touched him. Policemen initially thought he was pretending. By that time, the wife had come. The policemen insisted on taking him with them. As they were carrying him into the vehicle, his wife started shouting that they were kidnappers.
“He was taken to Police Hospital where the doctors said he was a drug addict. They flushed his system of drugs. It is also a lie that he was unconscious when he was discharged. While at the hospital, his wife brought moin-moin and beverage. He ate it.
“All we want is for him to tell us his contact in the CBN and these other organisations. We want to know how he got access to those secret documents. He told us he had a master whose identity he could not disclose.
“This will not stop us from investigating. As you can see, we have all the documents. What we are doing now is awaiting responses from the various organisations on the volume of cash moved from them.”
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