By Imelda Osayande
A 47-year-old man, Anthony Ogbevon, on Friday, approached the Edo Judicial Panel of Inquiry for Victims of SARS and Related Abuses in Benin, seeking financial compensation of N50 million.
In seeking for the compensation, Ogbevon alleged that he was wrongly paraded as a criminal suspect by the Police on June 8, 2020.
Narrating his ordeal, the petitioner, said he was arrested and dragged to the police station by some vigilante group on the allegation that he was a kidnapper because he refused to grant them their request.
He said that when the police arrived, instead of investigating the said allegation, he was arrested, detained, and paraded alongside other criminal suspects, just as his vehicle was also impounded by the police.
“It is a case of unlawful seizure of my vehicle. After the arrest, the police did not wait to investigate before they paraded me as a kidnapper and an armed robber.
“I was arrested on Sunday, June 7, 2020. On Monday, June 8, I was one of those paraded at the police headquarters as an armed robber and a kidnapper. After that, I was thrown back into the cell.
“On Tuesday, after some hours, they took my statement before going to the scene of the crime in Idu village at Upper Sakponba, in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government of the state.
“At the end of the day, the recommendation of the Investigating Police Officer, (IPO) clearly vindicated me that I was accused falsely by the so-called vigilante in that village, because I was going to my own village to see my aged mother and my farm.
“They begged me to help them take kidnapped victims to Benin, which I refused, because I was going to my village.
“When I was coming back, I picked a teacher in my village and seven seasonal Hausa farmers.
“When I got back to Idu village on my way back, the same vigilante said I disobeyed their chairman. Consequently, they started beating me, dragged me out, collected my N12,500 and said, I was carrying kidnappers.
“They dragged my passengers out and started beating them, except the teacher.
“At the end of the day, they called the police that they have arrested armed robbers and kidnappers. We were at the police headquarters until 7p.m.
“The IPO, after his investigation, said I was falsely accused because of malice and that I should be considered for bail.
“They charged me to court, and I was taken to court along with others in my car on June 18, 2020. I remained in the Correctional Centre until the DPP advice came that I had no case to answer.
“When I came out, I demanded for my vehicle, they refused to give it to me, saying that the court didn’t order that it should be released,” Ogbevon said.
He said he decided to approach the panel for justice.
“We are demanding for N50 million as compensation and consequential order that the vehicle should be released to me,” he said.
However, when the location of the vehicle turned into a debate, Chairman of the panel, Justice Ada Ehigiamusoe (rtd) sent some of the members to the state police command to ascertain whether it was still there or not as claimed by the petitioner.
This was when the police counsel claimed ignorance of the whereabouts of the impounded vehicle.
Ehigiamusoe adjourned sitting until Monday, Jan. 11. (NAN)