Customers and workers at the Lakers Lounge Hotel and Bar, Ikorodu, Lagos State, have accused officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of subjecting them to torture during a raid on the facility.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the workers were attending to customers at the club when the armed officials invaded the premises around 11.30pm on Friday, June 3.
The officials, who were said to have presented no warrant, also allegedly removed the closed-circuit television in the course of the operation.
They allegedly ordered customers and workers to lie on the floor and beat up those who protested against the raid.
A customer, Oladapo Ogunyinka, said the EFCC officials seized peoples’ phones, adding that he had yet to recover his seized property.
He said, “I left Ikeja with two guests to have fun at the club. We were upstairs when the EFCC operatives invaded the premises with guns and sticks. One of them, Olumide, approached our direction with a gun, seized my iPhone PRO Max 13 and Samsung Galaxy A22 valued at N900,000 and ordered us to go down.
“When we got down, the operatives told us to lie down flat. Immediately, the official that seized my phones started doing a video record. The officials went to the hotel attached to the club, broke the doors and brought lodgers outside. There was a particular couple that came out; the man was wearing only boxers, and the lady, a pair of pants and a bra.
“There was a lady that started convulsing due to the shock of the incident and one of the officers still beat her with a stick and said she was pretending. They treated people like animals; if I am lying, they have the CCTV footage with them, they should play it.
“They tied us in pairs of two; I explained to one of the operatives that I was a realtor that just came to the club to have fun and he informed the officer that led the operation from Ibadan, Chris Odofin, and I was untied. But they did not release my phones.”
Ogunyinka said the operatives instructed him to visit the EFCC office at Ibadan, Oyo State, to ask for one Momoh to claim his phones, adding that despite visiting the office, he had yet to retrieve his property.
“I had nothing incriminating on my phones, so I visited their office, asked for Momoh, who took me to where the seized phones were kept, but I didn’t see my phones. I became angry and started shouting and luckily, I was able to identify the person that seized my phones and Momoh also saw the officer.
“So, their boss had to intervene and told Momoh to call the officer. Their boss, who is a woman, gave them 72 hours to produce my phones, but till date, they have yet to produce them. It is surprising that I gave my phones to an EFCC official and he stole my phones instead of tendering them as exhibits.
“The incident was a nightmare. They harassed customers and workers at the club and didn’t even interview most people. I explained everything to their boss in Ibadan and she was just apologising,” he added.
The Human Resources Manager at the club, Ajoke Quadri, said the EFCC officials presented no warrant, adding that business activities at the club had been paralysed after the raid.
She said, “The EFCC officials destroyed the club’s property; they burst my office and the safe where I keep staff documents. They also destroyed the camera room, took all the DVR and hard drive and cut the wires connecting the CCTV.
“We also have a hotel attached to the club. They took the master card from our receptionist, went to the hotel’s rooms and the rooms where the master card wasn’t letting them to gain entry, they broke down the doors, raised the beds up and brought out lodgers.
“About 105 people work with us; but those operatives harassed my staff, including Gloria Nwankwo, and one of my supervisors, among others on duty. We had to rush the supervisor to a hospital as he could not hear properly after the attack.
“They also burst my boss’ office, took away three tablets used to punch in sales; they took two phones we used for receiving company transfer alerts. All staff and customers’ phones were taken; most of my staff had to go to Ibadan to retrieve their phones.
“I had to also go to Ibadan to retrieve some of our property. It was when I got to Ibadan that I was able to assist some of the people, including a nurse that was arrested at De Butler’s club, but had no money to return to Lagos.”
Recall that officials the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency recently raided the club and allegedly brutalised customers and damaged some property.
CCTV installed on the club premises revealed as the NDLEA operatives ordered customers to raise their hands while they searched their pockets, bags and purses one after the other.
As seen in the video clip, customers, who resisted the search, were beaten and forcefully dragged from the club during the raid.
In 2019, men of the Anti-Cultism Unit of the Lagos State Police Command also invaded the club and seized from its customers and workers valuables and cash running into several millions of naira.
The management of the club had sought redress over the incident as the Lagos State Police Command arrested 13 of the 19 police operatives for professional misconduct.
Counsel for the club, Femi Martins, lamented the constant raids on the club by security agents, noting that some rivals were trying to perpetrate unfair actions to run the club out of business.
A rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, said a lot of victims had been wrongly arrested and stigmatised in the guise of searching for Internet fraudsters, adding that those whose rights were violated should seek redress in court.
He said, “EFCC in recent times has become arbitrary in the way its operatives go about the discharge of their functions. There have been several allegations about the highhandedness of the commission in handling cases regarding cybercrime.
“In their attempt to go after the so-called Yahoo boys, they continuously violate the rights of innocent people. It is expected that before such an operation takes place, a proper search warrant would have been obtained to enable the commission to have legal access to the private property of citizens whether it is built for business or residential purposes.
“And a search warrant has to be targeted at a specific property and individual. Before a search warrant is issued under the administration of criminal justice act, there has to be reasonable suspicion.
“In a situation where they just invade premises and pick people indiscriminately, and begin to scout for evidence implicating the people that they have arrested, it is not a lawful way of enforcing the law.”
The spokesperson for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, had in a statement said the commission arrested 140 suspects in separate sting operations at popular hotels, including Lakers Lounge Hotel and Bar and De Butlers, following credible intelligence on their involvement in internet-related fraud.
“Items recovered from the suspects include exotic cars, electronic devices, laptop computers and mobile phones. The suspects will be charged to court as soon as the investigations are concluded,” the statement said.
Contacted for a follow-up reaction, Uwujaren said, “There is nothing to add to the statement that we issued.”
Ogun Police Confirm Report On Lady Allegedly Used For Ritual
The Ogun State Police Command has confirmed the report of a young mentally unstable lady who stripped herself and barked like a dog in Abeokuta, the state capital.
The State Police Spokesman, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said this in a statement on Friday.
He said the command was aware of the report of the yet-to-be-identified lady who might have been diabolically used for money ritual by a suspected internet fraudster, known as ‘yahoo boy.’
Oyeyemi said, “the young lady in question was alleged to have been spiritually and diabolically used by a suspected yahoo boy, as a result of which she started barking like a dog.”
The PPRO added that the victim, who was taken to the police without any clothes on her, became “very difficult to control because she was acting violently, hence she was kept in the cell.”
Oyeyemi said the police had immediately contacted her parents, saying she was taken to the hospital with the help of the police.
He said that “the alleged Yahoo boy was immediately arrested for interrogation,” adding that the case which brought a large crowd to the station, was later transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department on the directive of the Commissioner of Police, CP Lanre Bankole.
However, Oyeyemi said the command was surprised and embarrassed to see the video of the victim circulating on social media.
He said, “the height of the embarrassment was the fact that the said video was recorded while the victim, who was then naked and uncontrollable, was in police cell.
“In view of this, the Commissioner of Police, CP Lanre Bankole has ordered a full scale investigation to unravel the source of the video and how it became a subject of social media discussion.
“It is barbaric, uncivilised and despicable circulating such video on social media as such will in no small measure denigrate the human dignity of the victim which might be another source of psychological trauma for her.
“The Command has therefore vowed to deal with whoever found to be the source of the video and those behind its circulation on social media in the most decisive manner notwithstanding the status of the person.”
How Pregnant Woman, 9-months Baby, Grandmother Mysteriously Die In Osun Hospital
A pregnant woman, Basirat Anifowose, 28; mother-in-law, Rasidat Mufutau 60; and a nine-month-old baby, Abdulramon Afolabi were mysteriously found dead in a hospital at Ofatedo, Osogbo, Osun State.
DAILY POST learnt that the four persons slept in the same hospital room and three of them did not wake.
The incident happened on Tuesday in Osogbo.
The mother of the 9-month-old baby, Fatima Afolabi, 30, who also slept in the same room with the deceased only woke up on Tuesday.
Anifowose, a six-month-old pregnant woman, was a mother of three.
It was gathered that the mother-in-law was sick and admitted into the hospital owned and operated by a pastor, Olaniyi Taiwo, 42, of a Cherubim and Seraphim church.
The 60-old-woman was diagnosed and was been treated with diabetes and cough last Thursday while her nursing daughter, Fatima and her pregnant daughter-in-law were taken care of in the hospital.
Taiwo who is a founder of Ona Iwa Mimo, Cherubim and Seraphim behind Olofa Grammar School, Ofatedo, Osogbo also operates the hospital in the same compound.
According to Fatima while speaking with DAILY POST, the pastor gave them a local black soap to bathe on Monday evening.
“He gave us a local black soap to bath my son, my mother who is sick, the brother’s wife but ordered me not to use the soap.
“I slept on a chair, I noticed my son is not breathing when I woke and quickly call the doctor to check him and he confirmed to me that he is dead, that was when we noticed others, my mother and my brother’s wife were dead too,” Fatima told this medium.
Also, speaking, Olalekan Anifowose, the husband of a deceased pregnant woman said he had paid N65,000 out of N90,000 requested by the doctor for his mother’s treatment.
Anifowose said he left his wife to sleep in the hospital with her mother while he was taking care of her children.
Confirming the incident for the Police, SP Yemisi Opalola said the suspects, Taiwo and his wife, Kemi, 28, have been arrested.
She said the suspects have made some confessions which have helped police in making some other arrests too.
“Investigation is ongoing, the suspects have made some confession which is aiding police investigation and making another arrest,” she said.
Hundreds Of Students Escape Death In Enugu School Fire
Hundreds of students of the Peaceland College of Education, Enugu escaped death by whiskers on Thursday, when fire gutted some parts of the school’s female hostel.
The institution is located opposite the Matured Students Programme of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, near the popular Nkpokiti junction, at Independence Layout, Enugu.
Many students were said to have sustained injuries when students were scampering to different directions as confusion engulfed the premises.
However, there are conflicting accounts as to what triggered the fire.
While some said it was caused by power surge some said a student left an electrical appliance on and went to class.
Though no life was lost in the inferno, it was gathered from some staff of the college that the fire destroyed the roofs, ceilings, windows, beddings among others, at the top floor worth over N30 million.
The fire, it was gathered also destroyed some certificates and other credentials of the students.
Some lecturers who spoke to correspondent on condition of anonymity, said save for timely intervention of men of the Enugu State Fire Service the fire would have razed down the entire hostel and other classroom blocks.
One of the lecturers’ said that the fire started on the top floor of one of the major hostel blocks destroyed ND certificates and other credentials of the students.
A student who gave her name as Chinwe Odo said, “We were in our different classes when we suddenly heard the sound of explosion and when we went out to find out, we saw fire coming out from one of the rooms in the hostel.
“Some of us, especially HND students came to school with our OND Certificates because we were told that there would be verification by people from Abuja. Those certificates were razed by the fire”.
However, a senior staff of the college, who preferred anonymity, told journalists that the destruction in the school was huge.
“Though, no student was in the room where the fire started, but we suspect that somebody might have plugged a device and forgot to put it off.
“As a result, we lost a lot. The roofing, the ceilings, a lot of things up there. In fact we cannot put a figure to the destruction. But we really lost property worth over N30 million to that fire.
“But we thank the men of the Enugu State Fire Service. Without them, the entire buildings here would have gone into the flames”, the staff said.
At the time of filing this report, the school authority had yet to issue a statement on the incident.
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