Police brutalised me in front of my children — Anambra fire director
The Anambra State Chief Fire Officer, Martin Agbili, on Sunday alleged that men of the police command in the state beat him to a pulp in the presence of his wife and children.
Agbili said the incident happened on Saturday in front of the police command headquarters on Zik Avenue, Amawbia, in the Awka South Local Government Area of the state.
Narrating his ordeal, he said, “I was driving in my official vehicle with my family; the policemen had already allowed a private car to pass when they stopped me.
“When I explained who I was, they refused to allow me to pass. One of the inspectors with the tag, Peter Samuel, abused me and said I was a common fire service man. I called the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr Mike Okoli.
“Immediately, some other officers joined them and they started beating and slapping me. I stood without reacting as they beat me up and pushed me around in front of my family.
“As they beat me up, they told me that they would make me understand that fire service is nothing. People were there; but they were helpless. They told the police officers that what they were doing was wrong even when I had disclosed my identity to them.
“When some fire service officers heard about the incident, they came and started beating some of the policemen, pushing them around and tearing their clothes. As soon as the DCP arrived, the officer who started the beating ran away because he was in mufti. But I know him and I can recognise him anywhere.
“Sincerely, I least expected this insult and disgrace to me and to the fire service as a whole.”
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Haruna Mohammed, described the fireman’s claim as false and misleading.
He said, “The real fact of the case was that around 9pm, a man, later identified as Mr Martin Agbili, drove his vehicle towards the barrier of the police command headquarters and insisted that he must pass through the barrier despite being told by the policemen on duty that motorists were not allowed to pass through the barrier at night for security reasons.
“Instead of adhering to their explanation, the man became hostile and started raining insults on the police officers and threatening that he would teach them a lesson, while his wife shouted and made a video recording.”
Mohammed said Agbili called other fire service personnel who came with a fire service truck and barricaded the road.
The state police spokesman pointed out that the presence of other fire service personnel with the fire service truck created a scene and traffic congestion at the junction leading to the governor’s lodge.
Mohammed added, “It took the intervention of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Operations, who arrived at the scene and cautioned the man before he ordered his men to remove the fire service truck from the road and restore normalcy in the area.
“The command wonders why a person of such status expected to uphold the law is the same person violating it. His actions could have degenerated into a total breakdown of law and order if not for the timely intervention of the Deputy Commissioner of Police.”