A worker at the Port Harcourt Refinery Company in Eleme, Rivers State, Chikwu Emmanuel, has lost his sight after operatives of the Anti-Cultism Unit of the state police command allegedly brutalised and detained him over trumped-up charges.
Emmanuel said he had surgery on his left eye as a result of the injuries he sustained while in detention and could barely see with the affected eye.
Emmanuel said he returned from work on March 27 and his wife told him that a mechanic in front of her shop in Rukpokwu, near Port Harcourt was arrested following a fight with a neighbour, who sells building materials.
He said the arrest of the mechanic for allegedly injuring the man he had issues with on the hand prompted the latter to report the incident to the Anti-Cultism Unit.
Emmanuel stated, “So, my neighbour went to the anti-cultism office near the former Special Anti-Robbery Squad office in Rukpokwu to report the case and the operatives came to arrest him and the owner of the tricycle he was working on.
“So, three days after the mechanic was granted bail, I was invited by the IPO, Mr Bright, through the senior brother of the mechanic, whose name is Abraham, to come to their office.
“As I went there to tell them what I knew about the mechanic, the IPO started accusing me of blocking SARS Road with a tricycle, sponsoring and harbouring cultists in the shop.
“I told him that he should not intimidate me, but allow me to explain what I knew about the issue. He handcuffed me and said he would show me what it meant to intimidate people. He started hitting me in the face and all over my body for more than 10 minutes.”
He added, “After that, he handcuffed me and went for an assignment. About two hours later, the handcuffed was removed by one of his colleague, who calmed me down and asked me to write my statement.
“Later around 7.30pm, Bright came back and told me that the commander said they should put me in the cell. I requested to see the commander but they refused. I was thrown into the cell that day.”
Emmanuel said he asked for a lawyer, who came in company with his wife, adding, “I was granted bail after paying the policemen N35,000.
“After that, I went to my office’s clinic for a check-up because at the anti-cultism office I told them that blood was covering my eyes and I could not see.
“There, I was referred to a private clinic, where I was operated on April 18. I reported the matter to the police and all I need now is justice. I want Bright to pay for his actions against me.
“The torture and maltreatment were inhuman and have affected my eyes.”
When contacted, the spokesman of the state police command, Nnamdi Omoni, who is also the officer in charge of human rights, said he received the report, adding, “The matter is under investigation.”.