Some operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) yesterday have forced a man, Immanuel Ibe-Anyanwu who is a businessman to go hide inside the toilet of a Zenith Bank branch at Ago Palace-Way, Okota, Lagos State in a bid to escape from them.
37-year-old Ibe-Anyanwu has claimed that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad officers were waiting outside the bank already to extort money from the businessman after they have seized the documents of his company.
With no other option left for him, Ibe has to create a sensation on Monday while hiding in the toilet by calling for help on Facebook. He, therefore, enjoined friends and the Nigerian public to make his post go viral.
Ibe’s post read:
I was accosted by SARS officers are Ago-Palace, Okota, opposite Zenith Bank. They humiliated me and accused me of being a fraudster. Checked my documents and found nothing, and then said I should follow them back to my office in Ikoyi to confirm my claims. People intervened.
I called the PPRO of Lagos State and he asked to speak with them. They took the phone and seized it. They are still holding my documents. Later one called me aside and asked me to go arrange money.
I asked for my phone to let me make a transfer to my ATM account and he gave me. I took the phone and card and went into the bank and have gone into hiding here. I’m updating from my hiding place. They are waiting for me by my car. Phone battery down. Please share.
Ibe’s post was shared by over 400 online users in less than five hours, as many Nigerians supported his post.
The victim, who later spoke to PUNCH Metro over the telephone, said he stayed in the toilet for more than two hours.
Sharing his ordeal, Ibe-Anyanwu said:
“I was coming out of the banking hall after a transaction around 2pm on Monday when a man in mufti approached me. He said he was a policeman. I asked for his ID card, which he showed me. He told me to follow him to where their vehicle was parked.
“They were seven in number in a mini-bus. They were all armed, except the driver. Immediately we got there, he told his colleagues that I was trying to snatch his ID card from him. I was shocked. I wanted to explain, but they asked me to shut up.
“They went through my company documents. They saw that the address of my company was at Ikoyi and asked what I was doing at Okota. I told them that I came for a banking transaction. They asked why I didn’t do it at Ikoyi and I replied that I lived in Okota and that I left my house late and wanted to do the transaction before going to the office.
“They asked what we do in my company and I told them. They asked what I was doing before I opened the company. They said I should open my car for a search. which they did; they didn’t find anything there. They said I should enter their vehicle so that I could take them to my office at Ikoyi to confirm that I worked there. They said they know the street, but they don’t know my company.”
Ibe stated that he suggested that they meet with his landlady or speak with his company workers on the telephone, but the policemen rejected it.
He said that he called SP Chike Oti, the spokesperson for the Lagos State Police Command, who asked to speak with the operatives.
Ibe-Anyanwu said after he gave his mobile phone to the SARS officials so that they can speak with SP Chike Oti, they cut off the call and seized his phone.
He explained that a resident later mediated and asked the policemen to release him.
“They said because of the man that begged for me they would release me. They called me aside and asked me to arrange some money for them. I told them that I needed my phone to arrange the money. They returned my phone.
“I went into the bank and sneaked into the toilet where I wrote the Facebook post. I called the police spokesperson again to inform him that they had just released my phone and were demanding money. He told me not to give them anything. He said he had mobilised some officers and they were coming to rescue me.
“I was in the toilet till 4pm and thought by then they would have left; but they stayed. Later, the bank workers asked me to leave their premises. By then, my phone battery was flat and I could not call anybody. By the time I peeped outside, I saw they had removed my car’s number plate,” he added.
Ibe said he had “swiftly” entered the car and switched on the ignition of his car to vacate the premises when the policemen emerged and obstructed his path with their vehicle.
He explained that he rejected their call to wind down the glass of his car, adding that a crowd gathered around the scene.
Ibe-Anyanwu said the policemen removed his plate number and drove outside the bank to wait for him.
“The bank asked me to leave their premises. I was confused. I decided to risk it and speed out. That was how I escaped. Although I can recognise them, they don’t have any name tag. They only had their crested guns with SARS jacket,” he added.
Punch Metro reports that the state Police Public Relations Officer, Oti, in a statement, said the policemen had been identified.
He revealed that Edgal Imohimi, the state Commissioner of Police, had ordered their arrest and trial.
“On sighting the X-Squad personnel of the command, the erring policemen hurriedly left the scene in a manner suggestive that they were on an illegal duty.
“The Lagos CP directed the Officer-in-Charge of the X-Squad Section to fish out the policemen within two hours. That directive was actualised with the identification of the policemen involved.
They were led in that inglorious duty by one Inspector Jude Akhoyemta, attached to FSARS Ikeja. The CP has ordered their arrest and as soon as that is done, the public will be notified.”