As many Nigerians endeavour to keep the campaign for police reforms going, a member of staff at BudgIT, a civic organisation focused on promoting transparency in government, has narrated his ordeal at the hands of some policemen who arrested him in Kaduna on Tuesday.
Following his arrest for unclear reasons, Moses Motoni’s colleagues at BudgIT raised an alarm on social media and ignited widespread campaign for his release, a call made more significant by the #EndSARS online protests which has been used to highlight the numerous human rights abuses perpetrated by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
Speaking to newsmen after his release on Wednesday, Motoni revealed that his legs were chained and his hands handcuffed to a seat of the vehicle in which he was conveyed to Abuja.
Motoni, who would later learn that he was apprehended for holding a town hall meeting in Bida, Niger State, on budget tracking, said he was not immediately informed of the reasons for his arrest and that the police officers who arrested him actually disguised as courier workers.
“I was arrested in Kaduna and our journey from there to Abuja was hell for me because I was handcuffed on both legs and my elbows were handcuffed to a chair, which dislocated my joints.
“I wasn’t sitting; I squatted from Kaduna to Abuja, which was a journey of about two and a half hours. It was when I got to Abuja that I was told about the reason for my arrest,” Motoni said.
The policemen who dressed as DHL personnel tricked Motoni into visiting a the DHL office at Markafi Market, Kaduna to pick a parcel and thereafter accused him of “inciting the populace and trying to impeach the Emir of Bida.”
Motoni has however denied that his engagement with the Bida community would lead to a breach of the peace, noting that the idea of budget tracking was to encourage the community members to engage their representatives at the National Assembly and ensure that projects were implemented.
According to the Punch, the civic worker said he was not cowed by his detention, noting that he would still visit Niger State to continue his advocacy.