A 38-year-old commercial bus driver, Kester Edun, who was handcuffed to a police patrol van as captured in a video that recently went viral has narrated his ordeal to newsmen.
Edun said he was subjected to the inhuman treatment for about seven hours in the Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State without committing any offence.
Officers from the Esigie police division within the local government had reportedly arrested the bus driver following the escape of a passenger caught with an empty cigarette pack.
A resident of the area, Augustine Ogbonmwan, who recorded the brutality meted out to the bus driver was also arrested and detained by the policemen.
“The security operatives cuffed my hand to their van and dragged me on the road to compel me to admit to being an accomplice to the passenger,” Kester said.
He added, “I did not have any incriminating thing on the bus. When the passenger was searched, they found an empty pack of cigarettes in his pocket. Later, the boy ran away. I asked them to run after him, but they ignored me.
“They handcuffed me to the vehicle, adding that I must accept that I was the boy’s accomplice.
“I told them that I did not know the boy, but they cuffed and dragged me from First (Junction) to Third Junction. The policemen parked and started hitting me and I did not know what happened afterwards because I fainted.”
The bus driver was later taken to a private hospital by the policemen, where he was handcuffed to a hospital bed and later detained in a cell at the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department for allegedly being a cult member, an allegation he denied.
It was, however, gathered that Edun and Ogbonwan were later released on Wednesday.
The bus driver was further quoted by the Punch to have said, “I am not a cult member. I did not do anything. They should also return my mobile phone and money. I remit N5,000 to the owner of the seized bus every day.”
Meanwhile, Edo state governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki has ordered an immediate investigation into the incident.
Governor Obaseki condemned the conduct of the policemen and restated the commitment of his administration to ensuring civil and lawful behaviour.
A portion of the statement issued by the press secretary to the governor read in part: “This cruel, inhuman and barbaric treatment is totally unacceptable to the Government of Edo State and is in fact unacceptable in any sane or civilised society. The Governor has directed the Edo State Ministry of Justice to initiate immediate action to identify and prosecute all or any officers or persons found to have been complicit in this outrage”.
The governor also noted that it was such cruelty as meted out to the bus driver that motivated his decision to ban non-state actors from collecting revenue on the streets as they were fond of resorting to violence to obtain illegal levies from innocent citizens.