Sad Story Of Okoh, The Civil Engineer Who Was Bundled To Badagry Prison For 20 Days For Doing Nothing
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October 28, 2018 ( Post 1 )
Lagos, reputed to be a city of excellence has gradually turned into a nightmare to many, especially youths.
When they are not being harassed and intimidated by stern- looking but disguised security personnel, they are hounded and harangued into submission, on very flimsy excuses, by one task force or the other, and even the Oodua People’s congress, OPC. Such was the case of Anthony Okoh, a 21-year-old Civil Engineer with a Chinese company, CHCI Construction Company, at Lekki.
Penultimate Friday, he was in his one-room apartment near his place of work at Lekki sleeping when fierce –looking but armed uniformed men who claimed to be members of Lagos State Task Force on Environment broke into his room and bundled him to their coffin-like Black Maria.
Before he knew what was happening, he found himself inside their cell at Oshodi where he, alongside fifty other young men, three ladies, two underaged boys and a sick elderly man were confined till the next Monday when they were arraigned without charges and later taken to Badagry Prison where they spent 20 days in confinement. They were later released on the orders of Lagos state Director of Public Prosecution, DPP. His story is a study in denial, reckless infringement of human rights and social degradation.
The day of arrest
On the 10th of August, 2018, after the night duty, I went home in the morning and slept off. Later when I woke up and was speaking with my friend on phone, I heard noise outside and saw people running but I didn’t really know what was happening. The next thing I saw was a police officer wearing a task force vest who broke into my room and arrested me.
Immediately I tried to identify myself as a site engineer and supervisor at CHCI, the police officer slapped me and I kept quiet. The policemen then took me and bundled me into a waiting Black Maria. That was how I found myself in the Task Force office at Oshodi. When I was there, I called my brother but they stopped him from coming to see me.
That was how I was detained there till Monday morning with three ladies, two underaged boys, a sick elderly man and others numbering about 53. We spent three days in the task force office. A statement was taken from me on Saturday. The head of the task force actually came on Sunday. I then identified myself to him explaining that I was innocent but he told us not to worry that it would be sorted out by Monday. Based on his assurance, I was relaxed.
Appearance in court
On Monday morning, as early as 6am, they brought us all out straight to the court.
That was when it dawned on me that it was a serious matter. That was how we were arraigned in court on Monday morning and remanded at Badagry prison for 20 days. We were 53 altogether. I was just confused, I didn’t know what was happening. They accused us of breach of peace and that we destroyed government machinery when nobody destroyed anything. I didn’t even see any machinery on the I was arrested.
Arrival at Badagry prison
On arrival at Badagry prison, they checked us in and actually took us to a cell called Angola which was known as the worst cell in the whole prison. We were up to 20 locked up in the cell which was very small. There was no toilet facility so we were allowed to go outside to ease ourselves.
However, there was a small lavatory which we used at night and there was no light inside the cell. In the morning, they took our data, including our finger prints before allocating us to different cells. The first cell I stayed was ‘I ward’ and we were about 48 inmates there.
Two small sized beds were allocated to 10 of us and we were practically lying on top of one another. A Hausa man I met there narrated to me how he was arrested with 150 of his kinsmen and brought to the prison.
He said they were arrested around 5am while they were sleeping inside a compound belonging to one Alhaji who provided the place for them to sleep and go out in the morning to do their various businesses before coming b
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