How naval officer Unachukwu Alphonsus brutalized me for no cause – A civilian cry(Photos)

A man in Lagos, Chiwendu Ijomah narrates his ordeal with naval personnel, who he said allegedly brutalized him and sadly, these activities evolved into the sadistic and inhumane practice between the military personnel and a civilian calls for justice.  

He narrates:
With my fiancée that afternoon of 7th July 2020, I was driving to meet a client at Ago-Palace Way Okota Lagos. Looking through my rear mirror in the slow-moving traffic, I saw a heavily tinted 2001 Nissan Pathfinder following me bumper to fender. The car tried passing with aggression, its fender almost brushing my rear door. Thus, I became aware that someone was after us.

Slightly grazing the car on the right, I zoomed off and soon pulled up at my destination. Then suddenly, the SUV chasing us pulled up behind too. My fiancée told me the driver was in military uniform and before I could respond, she opened the door. “Let me ask him why he is driving that way behind us,” she said.

The next I saw was a young man in naval uniform violently shoving her and she staggering to the ground. I was still confused as to the mission of the attacker, who was wielding a 3mm cable for a whip. He dashed to my car, flung my door open and violently pulled me by the neck out of the car, raising the cable for a lash.

My fiancée intercepted the cable (see picture 1 below) and it fell to the floor. My attacker, gripping me by my shirt, detached the gadgets on his white uniform and handed them to the lady with him. He slapped me, kicked and then kicked again. People rushed to the scene begging, but he maintained his grip on my neck, even hitting those who told him he was denting the image of the navy with his abuse of privilege. He then head-butted me,  which probably saddened the crowd. I heard voices begging him to leave me alone and asking how I offended him. He tore my belt and my clothes.(see picture 2 below)

When he had drawn enough crowd, which defied the COVID-19 social distancing rule (he wore no mask either), he called some of his colleagues on phone while holding me by my trousers. He described where he was and how they should come “treat this guy Bleep up.”

He made about three calls and, seeing as none of his colleagues seemed available to come, he called the dreaded OP-MESA military team. They too didn’t promise coming. Then someone from the crowd called the Ago-Palace police unit and officers were sent to bring us to the station.

At the station, my attacker claimed I was driving recklessly and he had rushed to arrest me. When asked for evidence of the reckless driving, he had none. He was subsequently told that the job of arresting alleged traffic offenders belonged to the police. That if he noticed me driving recklessly or flouting traffic rules, all he should have done was to photograph the offence alongside the number-plate of my vehicle and forward same to the police for tracking and prosecution. Not to run after an alleged offender and start beating them up. The Divisional Police Officer urged peace, telling the two of us that as adults, the matter did not warrant assault.

Everyone started begging him to let me go. I told him to forget about my torn clothes, my belt and the trauma he had caused me. He insisted he’d mend his uniform which he claimed got torn as he was assaulting me. While I waited, he asked my fiancée to follow him for a word.

My fiancée and one of the sympathizers who followed us to the station obeyed him. Away from the prying eyes of the police, my attacker coerced her into transferring N25,000 (see picture 3 below ) to his FCMB account, else he would use his privilege against me and claim I tore his uniform and beat him up. He took my fiancée’s phone and deleted the video recordings of him harassing and bullying me. I was temporarily detained at the station.

After some time, my attacker (picture 4 below) came back and announced that my people refused to pay him his N25,000; that he would come tomorrow to deal with me. My fiancée soon arrived and told me she had been trying in vain to transfer money to his account. The payment later went through.

When the DPO saw I was still detained, she ordered my release but asked me to come the next day by 9am to settle the issue. As it was already late at the time of my release—COVID-19 curfew had commenced and hotels were shut—we slept in the car.

But we barely slept. The trauma was unbearable. I never knew that in 2020, an adult citizen of a country could be attacked and publicly beaten up by a younger man in naval uniform over unwarranted road rage.

I believe that the Nigerian Navy is a reputable and disciplined institution that will never condone abuse by officers like Unachukwu Ifeanyichukwu Alphonsus. He also endangered the lives of others in that reckless pursuit, not to mention the crowd whose safety he compromised by disregarding COVID-19 rules.

While I commend the DPO and the other officers of the Nigerian Police at Ago-Palace for their professional handling of the issue, I hope that the trauma and pain my fiancée and I faced will not be ignored by the Nigerian Navy. I hope that naval authorities will serve justice on this matter, if only to stop my attacker from further harassing other road users in the future.

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