In the early hours of September 3rd, some young Nigerians suffered from what can be described as a shocking abuse of power by officials of the Lagos state Task Force. Imagine going out to have fun after work on Friday at places without a curfew and then all of a sudden being manhandled, sexually harassed by men, thrown into a van and detained in a cell without knowing your offence? This was the fate of some women (including a heavily pregnant lady) and men in Lekki, Victoria Island and other places on Saturday, 3rd of September, 2016. LIB reached out to one of the victims (a woman), who cried bitterly as she recounted the horrific experience. Read after the cut…
PLEASE help put this incident out there for “justice” of we upstanding citizens of Nigeria, living in Lagos.
I am a chartered accountant by profession. I was out on the 2nd of September with friends and colleagues at “Maroccaine restaurant” in Akin Ogunlewe, off Ayorinde, VI. Due to it being a Friday and into the weekend (Sept 3), we all decided to stay a bit later than usual. At about 1am, I decided to go to my car and change into a pair of comfortable slippers. I had just done that and was in front of my car, about to cross into the restaurant when I was apprehended by 2 men. My immediate reaction was fear of kidnappers because of the way I was grabbed. Security men and friends tried to stop and intervene when all of a sudden, other men in police uniforms came and started beating them, the police/ the task force told the guys that if they should try again, they would shoot these men and would label them as armed robbers. I struggled and pulled up a fight so as not to be grabbed.
While I was struggling, I was beaten, dragged on the road and was put into a van that read: “Lagos State Task Force”. While I was struggling, another 2 men joined in and 1 of them put his hands on my “private part” twice. I was in shock and was bundled like a criminal into a “black Maria” truck. I saw lots of women and some men in this truck. I was so scared and asked what was going on. Nobody had an answer. They were all picked randomly from: The Place at Ikeja, The Place in Lekki1, Sip on Akin Adesola, Eko Hotel where suya is being sold.. Shots were equally fired at The Place in Lekki 1, when resistance was met. We were all scared and confused.
We then were driven to The Task Force Office in Alausa… where we were forced down, and taken into an area. We then demanded for what was going on and the next thing we knew, these officers (ALL men and one woman) called us “PROSTITUTES”. We started saying no way because there were bankers, Nurses, NYSC servers, a pregnant woman amongst us and more professional upstanding citizens. We were then locked in a cell without light, ventilation and filled with urine. We were told why should we be out by 1amand not in our homes. We argued there was no law prohibiting anyone from being out if there is no sanctioned curfew. I kept telling them that I had been molested and the policemen told me to not say it and equally told me that am I the first person to be touched? I kept insisting that I would not be silent.
‘A lady’s bra was torn in the process of picking her and her fiance who were out celebrating his birthday. We were all physically manhandled.’
Luckily for me, because I knew someone at the upper echelon, I was released by 6.45am. My uncle was asked to fill a form without paying bail. I called the person whom we knew to inform him that other innocent people where still being held against their will. These ladies and some men where later released at about 10am, after being ordered to pay 10k per person for bail. These task force group collected the money.
“The new kidnappers are these officials who take innocent citizens. Please don’t let these people get away with this. I and some of the other women have decided to write a petition and press charges. PLEASE help us out and expose these devious and callous acts against our human rights and person! The trauma is too much, I have cuts and bruises over my body. I can’t even sleep, it keeps replaying over and over. It’s like a nightmare that wouldn’t stop.”
The videos below show how they were bundled into a vehicle like common criminals, harassed and told to arrange 10k in their cells in order to released. Note: The victim who narrated this incident to LIB revealed she was the third person that was released. Before her, two other girls were released ONLY because their father was an ex military general and handed over to him. When she went back to the office the next day, it was revealed that Para-military men (dressed like touts) were the ones who pick up men for the task force. When the overall boss of the Lagos state task force told her to identify those that picked her up, she could not point out which para military man was involved due to the conditions at the time they were picked but was able to identify two task force officials currently pleading with her not to press charges. Other victims involved have submitted petitions and more interestingly, a supposed high ranking official is allegedly offering to bribe the victims into silence.
A petition has been written to the Lagos State and would be presented before the preliminary hearing at the Lagos State House of Assembly this morning.
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