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How police called me armed robber; handcuffed, beaten by SARS — Butcher narrates in court

A 37-year-old  man, Tochukwu Nwodo, told an FCT High Court in Kubwa on Friday that he was innocent of the charge of armed robbery slammed against him by the police.

The police charged Nwodo alongside Micheal Danmulak, Gabriel Ileso and Friday Audu with five counts bordering on armed robbery.

Led by his counsel, Mr Tajudeen Adegbite, the defendant said that he was a butcher and not an armed robber.

”I sell goatmeat. On Dec. 27, 2018, I boarded a commercial vehicle, from the Mararaba market and while at the checkpoint, Mopol Junction, a patrol team of policemen stop the vehicle, searched and asked us to alight.

”We were four occupants in the car. One of the policemen asked what I had in my pockets and I told him a wallet containing N45, 000.

”The policeman took the wallet and saw my business identity card, ATM and asked me to step aside, ” Nwodo said.

He said the policemen searched other passengers and after searching the vehicle, one of the policemen alerted his team to ensure none of the passengers are allowed to go.

”The policeman brought out a pistol from the vehicle saying he found it and asked who owned it but nobody claimed it.

”We were all ordered to squat in the middle of the road. We were taken to the Nyanya Police Division and tortured.

”I told the police that I have been a butcher for 17 years and do not know anything about the gun that was found in the vehicle.

“Our statements were taken and we were put in the cell,” he said.

The next day, he said, he was taken to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS ), handcuffed, and beaten by the Investigating Police Officer, Auta Mathias and asked to confess.

He further said he was taken to the FCT Command for questioning and returned back to SARS where he was asked to produce a surety.

The defence counsel asked Nwodo how many statements he wrote and when.

In response, the defendant said he wrote one statement at the SARS office in December, 2018 and another at FCT command in July, 2019.

Justice Kezziah Ogbonnaya adjourned the matter until July 11 for cross-examination.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the police alleged that the defendants were arrested in a stop and search armed with a locally made Berretta Pistol.

Other weapons include six and seven rounds of 9mm live ammunition without the required licence.

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