18 May 2017

Nigeria: Man Chained to Police Patrol Van 'A Fleeing Cultist,' Police Say

The Public Complaint Rapid Response Unit, PCRRU, of the Nigeria Police Force has said it has initiated an investigation to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident leading to a viral video showing a suspect handcuffed to a police patrol vehicle in Benin-City, Edo State, last Sunday.

A video uploaded on YouTube on Tuesday showed a young man, handcuffed to a police patrol van belonging to the Esigie Police Division in Benin-City, dangling from the vehicle, with onlookers claiming the car had dragged the man along the street.

The video went viral across various social media platforms hours after it was uploaded.

But in a statement issued Wednesday by Abayomi Shogunle, an assistant commissioner of police, the police insisted there is no frame in the 1:34″ video in circulation that shows anyone being dragged by a police patrol vehicle as insinuated.

"Preliminary #PCRRU investigation reveals that on Sunday 14.05.2017 at about 9:30 a.m., the Police at Esigie Division in Benin-City, Edo state received an information regarding congregation of suspected cultists in preparatory to the commissioning of a felony," the police stated.

"Based on the information, police team was dispatched to the scene where two male persons were arrested while others took to their heels. Upon a search on the person of the suspect seen handcuffed to the vehicle in the video some quantity of weeds suspect to be Indian hemp and powder suspected to be cocaine were found on him. Both arrested suspects were then loaded into the patrol vehicle and secured accordingly to prevent escape during transportation to the Police station.

"At a point along Sopkonba Road, Benin-City a crowd tried to prevent the free passage of the patrol vehicle transporting the suspects. That in the process one of the suspects (one seen in the video) tried to escape by jumping off the back of the open pick-up patrol van but was restrained by the handcuff attaching him to the vehicle. A reinforcement was called and the suspects were eventually taken to the station."

The police said the arrested suspects included the man seen in the video (on the right in photo), adding that there is no sign of bodily injury on them.

The police called on members of the public that witnessed the incident or with information other than what is already in public domain to come to the Office of the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 5 Benin-City where detailed investigations are ongoing.

"The Nigeria Police Force under IGP Ibrahim Idris is determined to ensure that rights of every suspect is protected at all times. The public is assured that proven case of abuse of powers any police officer(s) would attract sanctions," the statement said.

"As we await the outcome of the investigations by AIG Zone 5 Benin-City, members of the public are enjoined to always cooperate with Nigeria Police Force units as police officers are out to ensure protection of lives and properties."

Click video here.

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