Authorities of the Nigeria Police Force has released a statement exonerating its officers who were accused of brutalizing a suspect.
Following a wave of public outcry after a video of police officers chaining a man to their Hilux van and dragging him on the ground in Edo State, the State Command of the Nigeria Police has come out with a statement justifying their actions.
A video recording of the incident which reportedly took place on Sunday, May 14, 2017, between 1st East Circular Road and Sakponba Road Junction, Benin City, the state capital, was carried out by police officers attached to the Esigie Division.
After the video went viral and with many Nigerians condemning the actions of the officers, the Force decided to issue a statement saying that the suspect was a wanted cultist who became violent when he was arrested by officers and they had to resort to such extreme measure.
In a statement signed by Abayomi Shogunle, an Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge Public Complaint Rapid Response Unit, the police gave a detailed series of event that occurred on the day of the incident.
Read the statement here:
"The Public Complaint Rapid Response Unit (PCRRU) has initiated an investigation to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident including the police operations that led to the viral video showing a suspect handcuffed to a stationary police patrol vehicle in Benin-City, Edo State on Sunday, 14th May, 2017.
It is important to state that there is no frame in the 1:34" video in circulation on various social media platforms that shows anyone being dragged by a police patrol vehicle as insinuated.
Preliminary investigations reveal that on Sunday 14.05.2017 at about 9:30 am, the police at Esigie Division in Benin-City, Edo State, received an information regarding a congregation of suspected cultists in preparatory to the commissioning of a felony.
Based on the information, a police team was dispatched to the scene where two male persons were arrested while others took to their heels.
Upon searching the suspect seen handcuffed to the vehicle in the video, Indian hemp and cocaine were found on him. Both arrested suspects were then taken into the patrol vehicle and secured accordingly to prevent escape during transportation to the police station.
At a point along Sopkonba Road, Benin-City, a crowd tried to prevent the free passage of the patrol vehicle transporting the suspects. In the process, one of the suspects (one seen in the video) tried to escape by jumping off the back of the open pick-up patrol van but was restrained by the handcuff attaching him to the vehicle.
A reinforcement was called and the suspects were eventually taken to the station. Both arrested suspects including the one seen in the video (on the Right in the photo below) are the ones in the attached photo, there is no sign of bodily injury on them.
Members of the public that witnessed the incident or with information other than what is already in public domain should please turn up at the Office of the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 5, Benin-City, where detailed investigations are ongoing into the circumstances surrounding events that led to the video and allegations made therein.
The Nigeria Police Force under IGP Ibrahim Idris NPM, mni, is determined to ensure that rights of every suspect are protected at all times.
The public is assured that proven case of abuse of powers any police officer(s) would attract sanctions.
As we await the outcome of the investigations by AIG Zone 5 Benin-City, members of the public are enjoined to always cooperate with Nigeria Police Force units as police officers are out to ensure the protection of lives and properties."
See a tweet by ACP Shogunle to the effect here.