Some policemen at Elimbu Police Station, Eneka Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, have physically assaulted and threatened to shoot a kidnap victim for coming to report the incident at the place.
The policemen, who initially asked the victim identified as Ken, to provide money with which they could buy petrol in their van to visit the crime scene, resorted to physical abuse when the complainant told them that it was wrong to demand money from him simply because he asked them to do their jobs.
Ken and three of his friends were returning home to Rumuokorisi in Port Harcourt from a burial at around 7pm on Saturday when four gunmen crossed the Lexus 330 SUV they were riding in.
The armed men fired several shots into the air to scare aware people around the scene before whisking away the four youth in the vehicle.
The SUV ran out of petrol while they were being led to an unknown destination by the kidnappers along Igbo Etche Road, one of the most dangerous locations notorious for abductions and ritual killings in Rivers State.
One of the gunmen left the scene on a motorbike with one of the guys in the vehicle named Samuel while Ken and the two others were locked up inside the car.
A few minutes later, two out of the three remaining kidnappers went in search of petrol, leaving behind one of their colleagues to watch over Ken and his two friends.
The three young men managed to overpower the gunman after one of them was able to sneak out from the boot of the vehicle.
They soon found their way to Elimbu Police Station where they believed they could get help.
But rather than get the assistance of the policemen at the station, Ken, who was the most vocal of the three young men, was beaten and threatened with a gun.
He said, “My friends and I escaped to the police station to report and ask the policemen to help move our vehicle away from the scene of the incident but they asked me to provide money for petrol for their van.
“The request sounded weird to me, so I told them that it was a wrong thing they were demanding from me, that they are being paid with our taxes to protect citizens.
“The policemen immediately got angry and started slapping and beating me. One of them cocked his rifle and threatened to shoot me if I didn’t leave the police station.
“They told us to go and face the kidnappers on our own since we didn’t want to provide the money they demanded.
“We were forced to hire vigilante guys to secure the car for us at the spot where it went off till the next morning after the police refused to follow us to two the car away from the place.
“The kidnappers did beat or touch any of us. They only went away with our mobile phones, ATM cards and cash in our wallets when they realized that the vehicle had stopped and distorted their plans.
“They couldn’t come back to the car after we escaped from the last guy because they knew we would have gone to report to the police and bring them back to the place.”
Further narrating the frightening experience at the hands of the kidnappers and policemen, Ken told SaharaReporters that a police emergency number he later called at about 1:30am on Sunday to report the incident and ask for help yielded no positive outcome.
He said, “When I narrated our experience with the receiver of the call on the police emergency rescue number, the person rather than providing any type of assistance simply told me to go to my house and sleep.
“When I reminded the receiver of the call that I and my friends were kidnapped a few meters away from my house on Saturday night, the person told me to go home and then dropped the call.
“I and my friends and I had to look for somewhere safe to spend the night. Up till this moment, I am still too afraid to come out of my house anyhow because of that incident. It was a lucky escape for me and my friends.”
Spokesperson for the Rivers State Police Command, Nnamdi Omoni, did not respond to calls and a text message on the incident sent to his mobile number as of the time of this report.