- A musician, Richie Sunday aka Dollamachine, says he was brutalised by SARS operatives who accused him of being a Yahoo boy
- He says he was beaten and instructed to enter a vehicle; then taken to a Police station, where a statement was written for him
- The artiste says he is traumatised and scared to move around, and has called on the govt to reform the Police Force
Some operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) have been accused by an artiste, Richie Sunday aka Dollamachine, of unlawfully arresting and torturing him after accusing him of being an internet fraudster.
The 26-year-old musician stated that he was arrested in the Iyana-Oworo area of Lagos state around 12pm on Thursday, July 19, 2018, Punch reports.
NAIJ.com gathers that the SARS operatives had accosted the young man as he made his way to a supermarket to purchase drinks, instructing him to enter a commercial bus.
According to Sunday, the officers pounced on him and began hitting him with the butt of their guns, after he requested to see the identity card of the operative who initially stopped him. He said that he was not informed what he did wrong, and had to get into the bus after the pain became unbearable.
He stated: “It happened on Thursday around 12pm at Iyana-Oworo. I have a studio there; but an event was going on, so I could not drive out when I needed to get a bottle of cold drink and table water. While I was on my way, one man who was armed and putting on a T-shirt accosted and told me to follow him.
“I asked who he was because I wanted to be sure that he was a policeman. But all of a sudden, the officers started beating me; they used the butts of their guns and sticks to hit me and eventually forced me to enter inside a commercial bus.
“They refused to identify themselves and did not give me a chance to explain who I was. At first, I was taken to the Iyana-Oworo Police Station; but later, they took me to Charlie Boy Police Station. I did not write any statement, but they wrote a statement for me which I refused to sign.
“They accused me of being a yahoo boy and took my mobile phone; but in the process of checking my phone, they checked my profile and got to know that I was a musician.
“They did not find any incriminating item on my phone, but they had already beaten me black and blue. All I got was, ‘sorry, it will not happen again.’
“I was held up for about four hours before they set me free.”
Sunday stated that corrupt officials are denting the image of the Police Force and urged the federal government to reform the security agency.
He said he had been left traumatized after being deprived of his fundamental right as a Nigerian citizen; and added that he was still nursing injuries he sustained from the incident.
He said: “I am still traumatised; I lost N15,400 and some jewellery. As I speak with you, I am in pain. When you called me, someone was applying some local medication on my legs where I sustained injuries.
“I feel I have been denied my right to walk freely as a Nigerian. I cannot move around freely anymore, except when people are with me because I am scared.
“I want the government to focus attention on these SARS men because a lot of people are going through this same ordeal in their hands. A lot of youths are being accused for what they know nothing about. I just want the government to focus on fishing out these corrupt officials and reform the Nigeria Police Force.”
The incident was reportedly confirmed by the Lagos state police public relations officer, CSP Chike Otti, who however said the officers involved were not SARS operatives.
He stated: “The boy was not picked up by SARS. He was picked up by the Anti-Cultism Squad of the Command that acted on credible information that cultists were having initiation ceremony around the particular location.
“The officers stormed the location to arrest a large number of cultists and he was picked up because he was at the location. He, however, gave a satisfactory account that he was a musician to the officers and was released with no bail condition. It is surprising for him to start saying that he was maltreated.
“Artistes who are in the twilight of their careers should not use the name of the Police to launch themselves back to stardom.”
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com previously reported that Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, lauded the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS); saying that its operatives are doing a wonderful job.
The Police chief was responding to a question about what plans he had to restructure SARS, as many Nigerians have been clamouring for the squad to be scrapped.
Lagos CP Tells Lagosians What to Do to Erring SARS Officers - on NAIJ.com TV: