A housewife in Iwo, Osun State, Halima Abdulazeez, was at home during the stay-at-home order by the Osun State Government to prevent spread of coronavirus in the state until the morning of Saturday, April 18, when her two-year-old daughter suddenly took ill. She had ear discharges which caused her discomfort.
With only one option to buy a drug at a nearby pharmacy located in Odo Ori, Abdulazeez hurriedly left the house
However, before she could reach her destination, she encountered two policemen, Inspector Taiwo Ikuesan and a constable, Abass Ibrahim, enforcing the government stay-at-home order, who demanded to know where she was going.gathered that the woman had yet to explain where she was headed before the cops started whipping her.
The victim, a Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria Training School-trained broadcaster, was unable to get the drug she left home for. Rather, she ended up in a hospital as a result of wounds she sustained from the whipping.
Recalling the incident in a chat with our correspondent, Abdulazeez said, “My daughter’s ear was discharging puss on that day and after contemplating for a while, I decided to visit a pharmacy owned by a family member. Because of the restriction order, I couldn’t get a vehicle that would convey me and I decided to walk down to the place located few metres away from my house.
“I was already walking to the place when I saw a man riding a motorcycle. He was an acquaintance and I begged him to give me a ride. He obliged but before we got to the pharmacy, he sighted two policemen from afar, manning a barricade.
“The man refused to move further. He told me the policemen at the barricade were tough. He said he could not face them. I had to disembark from the motorcycle and walked towards a building near the barricade. The building belongs to a family friend.
“I was in front of the building when one of policemen approached me. He held a cane in his hand and he asked me what I was doing outside. As I was trying to explain to him, he started using the cane on me.
“I kept pleading that he should listen to me but all entreaties fell on deaf ears. He dragged me to the side of their vehicle where another policeman holding a baton stood. The second policeman joined in beating me. Also, another security officer in a ‘Man O War’ uniform joined the two policemen and the three of them beat me mercilessly.
“While that was going on, a superior officer arrived at the scene and ordered them to stop beating me. He asked me what I was doing outside and I told him. I also told him his men did not listen to me.
“The superior officer said I should go to the pharmacy to get the drug for my daughter, but I told him I was already brutalised and couldn’t walk properly again. They kept threatening to arrest me if I refused to leave the area. A resident later came around and assisted as I walked out of the area in excruciating pains.
“I was first treated at Victory Hospital, Iwo, but when I was not feeling too well, I was later attended to at Police Clinic in Osogbo. When my condition did not improve, I was taken to the State Hospital, Asubiaro.”
On how the video of the incident which went viral was recorded, Abdulazeez said she didn’t know the person who captured the incident with her phone.
She stated that she never knew there would be proof against the cops who brutalised her, adding that she was informed of the video while in hospital.
Abdulazeez commended the Osun State Police Commissioner, Johnson Kokumo, for his prompt action to ensure justice for her, after the arrest of the cops.
She feared there could be a recurrence of the incident if the perpetrators were not prosecuted.
Abdulazeez noted that the cops should be paraded before journalists and duly prosecuted to serve as a deterrent for other policemen maltreating citizens they were employed to protect.
She added, “I witnessed their trial. The CP condemned their action and in all his actions, he stood for justice. They were pronounced dismissed in my presence. But I want them to be tried in a law court for their conduct. When the inspector was pronounced dismissed after the orderly trial, he trivialised the whole process. He was even laughing and he described his dismissal a ruse.
“The adjudicating officer cautioned him but he was not even listening. He was even making some inciting statements. The kind of assault I was subjected to should not be visited on an animal. Animal should not have been so treated.
“On movement restriction to stop spread of COVID-19, I think there should be procedures on how people should be handled by policemen and other security agents. I don’t think there is any law that states that human beings should be beaten like animals.”