A request for assistance through Facebook soon paid off for a business man on the verge of being exploited by SARS officers.
Punch News reported that the SOS call was made from a toilet at the Zenith Bank office in Okota, Lagos. He made a call for assistance on Monday, April 9, 2018, according to reports.
Ibe-Anyanwu observed that the SARS men met him when he was leaving the bank but their motives were not chiefly related to providing security according to Ibe-Anyanwu.
“I was coming out of the banking hall after a transaction around 2pm on Monday when a man in mufti approached me.
"He said he was a policeman. I asked for his ID card, which he showed me. He told me to follow him to where their vehicle was parked.
“They were seven in number in a mini-bus. They were all armed, except the driver.
"Immediately we got there, he told his colleagues that I was trying to snatch his ID card from him. I was shocked. I wanted to explain, but they asked me to shut up.
“They went through my company documents. They saw that the address of my company was at Ikoyi and asked what I was doing at Okota.
"I told them that I came for a banking transaction. They asked why I didn’t do it at Ikoyi and I replied that I lived in Okota and that I left my house late and wanted to do the transaction before going to the office.
“They asked what we do in my company and I told them. They asked what I was doing before I opened the company. They said I should open my car for a search. which they did; they didn’t find anything there.
"They said I should enter their vehicle so that I could take them to my office at Ikoyi to confirm that I worked there. They said they know the street, but they don’t know my company.
“They said because of the man that begged for me they would release me. They called me aside and asked me to arrange some money for them. I told them that I needed my phone to arrange the money. They returned my phone.
“I went into the bank and sneaked into the toilet where I wrote the Facebook post. I called the police spokesperson again to inform him that they had just released my phone and were demanding money. He told me not to give them anything. He said he had mobilised some officers and they were coming to rescue me.
“I was in the toilet till 4pm and thought by then they would have left; but they stayed. Later, the bank workers asked me to leave their premises.
"By then, my phone battery was flat and I could not call anybody. By the time I peeped outside, I saw they had removed my car’s number plate,” the business man expressed.
Shelter at the Okota branch of Zenith Bank appeared to be an issue for Immanuel Ibe-Anyanwu, who was under pressure to leave the financial institution.
An order given by the bank officials insisted on his departure following an end of duty.
This soon forced him to make a forced exit from the company.
Help finally came from the office of the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Edgal Imohimi, who requested on having the officers concerned be arrested.
"The bank asked me to leave their premises. I was confused. I decided to risk it and speed out. That was how I escaped.
"Although I can recognise them, they don’t have any name tag. They only had their crested guns with SARS jacket," says a rescued Ibe-Anyanwu.
The X-Squad of the police had appeared just in time to force the SARS men to make a run for it.
They have however been identified and are within an inch reach of being arrested.
“On sighting the X-Squad personnel of the command, the erring policemen hurriedly left the scene in a manner suggestive that they were on an illegal duty.
“The Lagos CP directed the Officer-in-Charge of the X-Squad Section to fish out the policemen within two hours.
"That directive was actualised with the identification of the policemen involved. They were led in that inglorious duty by one Inspector Jude Akhoyemta, attached to FSARS Ikeja.
"The CP has ordered their arrest and as soon as that is done, the public will be notified," confirms state police spokesperson, SP Chike Oti.