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I've been brutalised twice by SARS operatives - Rivers state resident recounts ordeal

I've been brutalised twice by SARS operatives - Rivers state resident recounts ordeal

- A resident of Rivers state has alleged that he was brutalised twice in 2018 by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in the state

- The man, Vaughn Itemuagbor, said that in his latest encounter with SARS officers, he was asked to admit in a statement that he was an internet fraudster

- He said after he was brutalised, they extorted N150,000 from him before he was released

One Vaughn Itemuagbor, a resident of Rivers state, has alleged that he was tortured twice in 2018 by the operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in the state.

He stated that the officers told him that as a young man driving a car in Port Harcourt, he must be guilty of some crimes, Punch reports. notes that Itemuagbor said: “That Sunday experience was the second this year. I was first arrested in March when I was driving to the office. I was flagged down by policemen and asked what I do for a living and I told them that I am an IT consultant. They said I was an internet fraudster and they took me to their office.

“I was with my girlfriend that day; and we were in their office from 11am to 4pm. After lots of pleading, they asked me to give them money, I did and they set us free.

“Last Sunday, which was my second experience, I went to get food in an eatery when I saw some guys behind me in a Toyota corolla waving me to stop; initially I thought they were kidnappers because they all wore black clothes.

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“I wanted to speed off but I later realised that they were SARS officials, I stopped the car and wind down the vehicle’s glass. One of them came to meet me and said I wanted to run away and I said no. I greeted them and they asked who I was and I told them my name and my occupation; they asked for my ID card and I showed them.

“After showing them my ID card, they said they know who I was. I was asked to open my Facebook account while one checked through my phone, the other official said we should go to their office.

“While we were on the way to their office, I asked him what my offence was but he said, ‘if you don’t shut up, something else is going to happen to you, I’m asking you questions, you’re showing me ID card, you think you’re smart? We know all you people’s antics.’ I asked him who are the ‘you people,’ but he didn’t answer me and said that if I got to their office; I would answer any question they asked me.

“When we got to their station, I was asked to take off my shirt and trouser and sit on the floor. I was asked again what I do for a living and I told them that I’m an IT consultant and they gave me a hot slap; one of them came with a big stick and started hitting me. At this point I was confused, I don’t know what to do again.

“They gave me a paper to write a statement, I was asked to confess to being a ‘yahoo boy,’ a popular slang for an internet fraudster, but I protested that I was not and they slapped me.

“One of them that didn’t join them to torture me later came to meet me that I should just write whatever they want me to write and they would release me, I was forced to admit that I was a yahoo guy. They came to ask me about what I could offer them and after much talk; they said I should give them N1m.

“I told them that they should just kill me there because I did not have that kind of money. They said I should raise N500,000, but I told them I don’t have the money. They told me to call my people, but I told them that I did not have anybody. Then, they asked me to write in my statement that I offered them a bribe to facilitate my release.

“After that, I was taken to an ATM close to their office and I withdrew money in multiples of N10,000 and a total of N150,000 and gave it to them, after which they drove to one place and they gave me my car key and asked me to go.”

The victim, who said he was ignored when he reported the matter at a police station, called on the inspector general of police to save him from harassment.

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Meanwhile, previously reported that the cry for the federal government to scrap the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) took a new momentum with a planned protest by Nigerians in nine states and Abuja.

A flyer that circulated on social media and endorsed by human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, said: “This is a protest to stop SARS brutality, intimidation, extortion and killings."

#ENDSARS or #REFORMSARS? Nigerians blow hot - on TV

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