From Charles Adegbite, Ado-Ekiti
A youth corps member serving in Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, Anthony Ebuka Onugbara, has lost his right eye to police brutality following injury he sustained when he was allegedly beaten by some police officers. Onugbara, a 26-year-old native of Ezea-Amichi, Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State, said some men of the Special Anti-robbery Squad stormed his house at Bode Ayeni area of Adebayo and started unleashing beating on the occupants,of the building.
Their allegation, according to him, was that a lady complained to the police that a youth corps member in the house allegedly harassed her sexually. Presently, Anthony is fast losing his sight, having undergone eye surgery at the Ekiti State Teaching Hospital, the bill he personally sponsored without help from the police authority.
Anthony, the only graduate among five children and son of petty traders, is a graduate of Marketing from the Anambra State University. Narrating his ordeal to journalists yesterday, Anthony, who cried profusely, said a youth corps member living in the same compound with him named Michael, picked the lady, who was an alleged sex worker at about 6p.m on August 12, 2012 at Fajuyi Area of Ado Ekiti to spend the night with him with the agreement to pay her N3,000 the second day. Anthony recounted that disagreement ensued immediately Michael took the lady home at about 8p.m that day because Michael confessed that he could only offer the lady N2,000.
He said Michael’s action infuriated the lady who went away to report the case to the police, lying that she was abused sexually, even when no sex took place between them. Shortly after the lady left, some SARS operatives bombarded the premises at about 11p.m and started breaking the doors and beating occupants of the compound. “As I was sleeping, I heard a bang on my door and suddenly woke up.
And immediately the policemen got into my apartment, one of them hit me in my right eye with the butt of his rifle and I started bleeding .” Reacting, the Police Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ekiti State Command, Mr. Babayemi Victor said the corps member had written to the Commissioner of Police in the state over the incident and investigative panel had been set up by the command to look into the case.
Babayemi, noted ‘I can’t pre-empt the outcome but I can assure you that if any officer acted in such brutal manner, he would be made to face the music. We just need a little more time to conclude the investigation and the truth shall be revealed. The victim explained further that four corps members, including him were arrested that night and clamped in detention.
They were later arraigned before the Magistrate Court in Ado Ekiti on two-count charge of rape and felony. He said he was detained for four days without access to medication despite that his right eye had shrunk before they were bailed by one lawyer he identified as Mr Okeya , so that he could have access to medical treatment.
But they were discharged and acquitted on September 15, 2012 , when the police withdrew its case against them on the ground that there was no evidence to try them for the offences preferred against them. He said he had complained to National Youth Service Corps Zonal Inspector in Ado Ekiti , but expressed regret that no efforts had been made to bail him out of his predicament.