Operatives of Rivers State Police Command have been accused of beating a man to coma during an attempt to arrest him.
A Port Harcourt-based businessman, Prince Steven Lemachi, said he was severely beaten during an attempt to arrest him over a petition before the Commissioner of Police on land dispute.
The Public Relations Officer of the State Police Command, Mr. Nnamdi Omoni, said the police had gone to arrest the victim based on a petition to the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ahmed Zaki, by one Edna Wobilor over a land dispute.
But Lemachi alleged that he was in his house when a team of Special Ant-Robbery Squad led by one Adetuyi Benson, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, invaded his residence.
Lemachi, who narrated his ordeal to Southern City News, claimed that Benson led a group of armed men to invade his home at midnight on April 2, 2017.
He maintained that he had no dealings with Edna Wobilor over a land matter as claimed by the police, stressing that the claims by Omoni was a ploy to cover up the damage he suffered in the hands of the police.
Lemachi stated that he, his wife and his domestic aides were thoroughly beaten by the police over a landed property in Rumuodomaya in Obio-Akpor Local Government Area of the state, even as he threatened to sue the police when he recovers.
Omoni said Benson acted on orders based on a petition against Lemachi by one Edna Wobilor over a landed property in Rumuodomaya.
He justified the actions of the SARS personnel, stressing that Lemachi was training bad boys in his premises and that the operation was carried out at midnight because of the magnitude of the petition against the suspect.
Omoni said, “We cannot say that his premises was invaded. There was a valid complaint that was lodged by a complainant to the Commissioner of Police. The petition was endorsed by the CP to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
“SARS swung into action and went for the suspect mentioned in the petition; one Prince Steven Lemachi. He was alleged to have sponsored some bad boys, who invaded the land that is in dispute.
“When the police got there, he could not submit himself peacefully for arrest, but resorted to violence. In the process, he assaulted the police officer. In the process, he was arrested. As it stands, he is in the hospital for treatment. After his treatment, he would be charged to court.
“Lemachi harboured criminal elements in his compound. So when the police got there, he tried to evade arrest. Police can arrest at any point in time since an offence was committed by the suspect.
“I know Benson in SARS very well; if he was the person that led the team, he acted on the petition sent to the commissioner of police.”
On his part, the man said it took the intervention of SARS Commander, CSP Akin Fakorede, who responded to a distress call, to save him.
He claimed that N1.8 million and other valuables were stolen by the policemen during the invasion of his home.