Doctors at a teaching hospital are currently battling to save the eyesight of a man battered by police officers.
Stephen Akams, a Lagos State based interior designer, has blamed men of the Nigeria Police Force for damaging his left eye and fears he may not be able to use the eye again after they beat him up because the vehicle he was in tried to overtake that of the police officers.
The 41-year-old Akams, who is on admission at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Edo State, stated that he is waiting for medical results to determine if he can still use the eye after the officers, numbering about seven, battered him on Thursday, March 24, along the Benin By-pass while he was returning from an assignment in Enugu State.
According to the victim, there were four policemen in a vehicle ahead of the car conveying him while three others were in another vehicle coming behind his.
He said that the police van was in the middle of the road, moving at a slow speed when the driver of the car he had hired signalled to overtake it by blowing the horn but the policemen refused to give way.
The injured Akams went further:
“Our driver was driving at a speed limit of about 70 kilometres per hour, but the police vehicle was going slower in the middle of the road.
In an effort to go past the vehicle, our driver sounded the horn, but the driver, who eventually turns to be a policeman, started abusing us.
When we managed to go past them, I signalled at the driver of the vehicle to caution him. That was when they started chasing us and overtook us. One of the guys at the back seat pulled a gun and threatened to shoot if we didn’t stop.
We were not sure who they were, so we decided to reverse and that was when we discovered that another white vehicle was following us. They trapped us between them.
They came down with their guns – about seven of them – and dragged me out of the vehicle. They accused me of insulting police officers and beat me up.
They bundled me into their vehicle and asked me to bring N100,000 for them to release me. I told them I didn’t have the money.
After they had driven for about two miles with me in the boot, they parked and brought me out and started beating me again. When one of them saw the hand band my friend’s daughter made for me and another one I bought in Ghana in 2012, they said I was a cultist.
I refuted the claim and the beating continued. They brought handcuffs and threatened to take me to the Department of Criminal Investigation. One of them brought a fan belt and repeatedly hit me in the head.”
The Delta State indigene said that the policemen fled the area after the belt hit him in the eye and he became unconscious. He added that it was the driver of the car he boarded that trailed him to the scene and took him to the hospital.