A 33-year-old woman, Olufunmilayo Erioluwa, who was accused of assaulting a policeman and later freed by a court, has said she was made to suffer over a dog.
According to the hairstylist, she was unjustly detained and remanded in the Kirikiri Custodial Centre because the dog owner was connected to the police.
She was released on June 27 after 44 days in prison.
She expressed gratitude to a human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, and his legal team, saying she could have “died in detention having been traumatised by the incident.”
“I want to beg Nigerians who saw my picture when the police posted it on Twitter to arise and fight for me because I am weighed down by it all; it’s too much on me,” Erioluwa added.
The woman was arraigned for allegedly assaulting the policeman less than 24 hours after the police arraigned Afrobeat singer, Seun Kuti, over a similar charge.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, wrote about the incident on his Twitter page on May 16.
The post read, “Somewhere in Ogombo yesterday, she assaulted a police officer. She was arraigned today and has been remanded in the Kirikiri custodial facility till June 6 when the case comes up again in court.”
Attached to the post was a picture of Erioluwa firmly holding the uniform of the policeman, who was smiling.
The PPRO also attached an original copy of the court document to the post.
The story published by various media platforms was that Erioluwa assaulted the policeman during a stop and search and squeezed his uniform with impunity.
The woman, who could not share her side of the story as of then, said she was framed.According to Erioluwa, the case resulted from an “insignificant incident” between her and a neighbour, with whom she had a misunderstanding.
“That evening, I wanted to go out and buy food when I saw one of my neighbours with her child and their dog, which was in the middle of the road. I had to chase the dog because I didn’t want to ask her or her daughter to leave the road for me.
“So, the woman got angry that I chased the dog. She sought to know the source of such effrontery to chase away her dog. I didn’t even know she was serious until she started raining abuse on me. She said she would report me to the landlord; that I couldn’t give birth to a child and that was why I poured sand on her pet.
“I went inside and reported her to my boyfriend, who came out and warned her to stop using such statements to mock me. He asked her if she went with me to any hospital where the doctor declared me barren. After the exchanges, I left,” she said.
Erioluwa continued, “That night, around 7.30 pm, I was at a friend’s burial when someone came to me to say that some policemen were looking for me.
“I didn’t want to put my boyfriend in trouble, so I went to meet them. I found out that Mama Ezinne went to the station to bring a policeman and three others to arrest me.
“I was surprised because we didn’t fight; I didn’t touch her and she didn’t touch me either.”
Erioluwa explained that the policeman, who was smiling in the Twitter photograph, had slapped and dragged her to the point of exposing her breasts before she tried to free herself from his grip.
She also stated that the policemen did not have any arrest warrants or identification cards, but beat her up because she demanded to know her offence.
“When they saw me, the policeman asked if I was Funmilayo, and I said yes. He said I was under arrest and I asked him, ‘What happened sir, what did I do, and from which police station?’
“The policeman replied angrily, ‘Are you stupid?’ He asked what right I had to ask a policeman questions. I said, ‘I have to ask because I don’t know what wrong I had done to be arrested. You didn’t show me any identification card, and you just ask me to enter into your van?’
“I told him that I was not going anywhere with him. The next thing, he slapped me, grabbed my clothes, and started dragging me, pressing my breasts in the process.
“He boasted that he had dealt with other ladies like me and nothing happened and that after dealing with me, nothing would happen. All the while, he was dragging and beating me.
“So, as I tried to rescue myself from his tight grip and also cover myself a little because my breasts were out, his colleagues started taking pictures, saying I was in trouble and that they would make sure I rot in jail; that I had assaulted a policeman,” she added.
Erioluwa emphasised that she could not have assaulted a policeman in the presence of his colleagues and that she was just trying to defend herself from his aggression.
She said, “I cannot beat a policeman. The picture is clear; they only accused me. They were four policemen with guns; no identification cards and no arrest warrant.
“The policeman smiling in the photograph said he was going to torture me and my friend. They pushed, beat and tortured me because of a domestic animal, a dog.”
Written by: Kevin Nwabueze
Australia's prime minister has given a national apology to survivors of the thalidomide scandal and their families. It comes over 60 years after the morning sickness drug started causing birth defects in babies globally. "This apology takes in one of the darkest chapters in Australia's medical history," Anthony Albanese told […]