There was commotion on Monday morning in Umuahia, the capital of Abia State, when policemen attached to the Railway Police Station manhandled an unidentified army captain for allegedly parking his 18-seater Mitsubishi bus close to the fence of the station.
An eyewitness, who does not want his name on print, said the Divisional Police Officer attached to the station was driving into the station in his white Toyota Highlander SUV car when he spotted the bus and ordered the owner to park the vehicle properly.
The DPO had insisted that the army captain’s vehicle was blocking his way.
The source said when the driver of the bus came out dressed in ash colour native attire, he greeted the DPO and quickly wanted to move his bus, but the police officer ordered him to come closer and explain why he should block his way to the station.
He said, “The man continued to plead with the police officer who was fiercely angry and also refused to allow him to remove his bus, ordering his men to arrest the man.
“Then the man told him he was a captain in the Nigerian army, but he insisted that he must obey his orders first.”
When Southern City News visited the police station, residents who owned business around the place, were seen pleading on behalf of the soldier, but the DPO would not listen.
“The DPO was shouting on top of his voice, saying, ‘he (army captain) must obey my arrest order. You people should tell him to obey my arrest order, you must obey my arrest, you said you are a captain, you must tell me how many wars you have fought’.
“The officer boasted he had fought in three states invaded by Boko Haram; Bornu, Adamawa and Yobe before coming here. He said the army captain must show him his identity card and ordered that he (army captain) should be dragged into the cell,” the eyewitness said.
It was learnt that the situation created panic around the railway area as shop owners closed their shops to avoid been hit by stray bullet as the policemen began to shoot sporadically into the air.
But the drama became messier when four soldiers arrived at the police station in about 20 minutes time and discovered that the man who was beaten by the police was actually an army captain.
One of them was heard saying, “I thought it was even a junior officer,” as he ordered another policeman to call the DPO.
In less than 15 minutes, four Hilux vans fully loaded with soldiers landed at the police station, just as the soldiers expressed anger at what happened to their boss.
They later took the DPO away and another police officer with them to their base, after giving them the beating of their life.
Efforts made to contact the state Police Public Relation Officers, Mr. Ezekiel Odeviotu, proved abortive, as he did not take calls put across to his mobile phone number.
Odeviotu later sent a text message to our correspondent, saying, I am in a meeting.”