A motorist, Marvelous Chukwuma, has recounted his ordeal at the hands of some traffic wardens and men of the Nigerian Airforce on Orji Road, Owerri in Imo State.
Chukwuma was reportedly beaten with cables which left marks on his back for taking pictures of an alleged traffic offence he was accused of.
The motorist told Sunday PUNCH that he was heading for Rockview Hotel on Wednesday around 2.45pm when four traffic wardens stopped his car at a junction leading to the hotel and accused him of not putting on the indicator to show he wanted to navigate through the junction.
He said all efforts to explain to the traffic officials that the indicator was on were rebuffed as they insisted he should follow them to their office.
Chukwuma stated that he picked his phone to take pictures of his car position, adding that he was taking the shots when the officials descended on him.
He recalled, “I wanted to visit a friend around the hotel that day. On getting to the Rockview Hotel Roundabout from Orji Road, I made to turn at the junction to link the hotel. Some traffic wardens jumped in front of my car and said I didn’t put on the indicator.
“I brought out my phone to take pictures and video of the scene. As I started the recording, three of them pounced on me and wanted to seize my phone but I didn’t release it. One of them hit me with a stone. The fourth official was inside my car.”
The 29-year-old man explained further that the traffic wardens held him and invited some airmen who came in a van with the inscription, “Quick Response Squad, 112, Airforce.”
He said the six military men beat him with cables and zoomed off afterwards, leaving him in pains.
“I was brutalised by the airmen. They flogged me with cables. They were in camouflage but they did not have name tags. Quick Response Squad, 112, Airforce was written on the van they brought.
“A relation of mine who was passing along the road saw them beating and he intervened. They beat him too,” he added.
The police spokesperson in the state, SP Ikeokwu Orlando, in a response to a text message sent to his mobile on the incident, said the victim should see him.
“Let him see me,” Orlando replied.
NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said no Air force official was involved in the assault.
He said, “I have got in touch with our unit in Owerri and there is no such a report. It is extremely spurious. Why would Air force officials beat somebody for traffic officials? It does not make any sense whatsoever.”
Daramola later requested that Punch reporter in Owerri and the victim visit the NAF base in the state capital for further verification, noting that identification parade could be carried out if necessary.
“Let the reporter go with the victim to lay his complaints. Nigerian Airforce has zero tolerance for this (indiscipline),” he added.