A popular On-Air Personality in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has been assaulted and manhandled by the men of the Special Anti-Robery Squad, SARS.
The OAP, Kofi Bartels who work for Nigeria Info FM, a popular Talk, News and Sport radio station in Port Harcourt said he was molested and beaten to stupor on Tuesday by men of the SARS while trying to be the voice of the common man – a boy whose mother fries Akara (Beans cake) in the city.
Narrating his ordeal at the hands of the SARS men on his verified Twitter handle, @Kofi_Bartels on Wednesday morning, Kofi said, “Yesterday, I was driving in my area and saw SARS officers beating up a boy who lives in the area. His mum fries Akara for a living and I knew immediately that they wouldn’t be able to ‘settle’ the officers.
“He kept shouting ‘what have I done”, while they tried to force him into their bus. They were beating the hell out of him and don’t know if he would have survived. I made to go plead with them but at a point hesitated and chose to take a shot of the bus and numberplate”.
The Radio presenter said the SARS men broke his knees after massive beatings, adding that his life was threatened as they threw him into the cells overnight.
“I was given the beating of my life right on the road. They started by smashing my knees repeatedly with wooden bars. As I type this, my left knee is swollen and my right knee seriously bruised. I have pains on my head, neck and back.
“I was handcuffed like a common criminal and shots were fired to disperse a small crowd that had gathered. After a second round of beating, I was taken to SARS HQ in Port Harcourt where I was beaten more mercilessly by the SARS officers who took me there. About three others also joined in. They are took turns to slap, punch, kick me all over my body in a detention room, while I was struggling with a swollen knee. At least 6 officers, one at a time. One swore he would have ‘wasted’ me if his team were the one who picked me up. I was told to get ready to be thrown into their cell where I would receive the worst torture, including sexual abuse by male inmates.
“A couple of them told me to watch my back, saying this is my end in Rivers State, due to the human rights issues we treat on radio involving SARS and the police generally.
“My phones were seized and I had no way of communicating with anyone. I was saved at the last minute when word got to their former boss and they were ordered to release me unconditionally. The pains were unbearable last night and I’ll have to go for a skull and knee Xray today”.
Kofi further said he’s never committed any crime, but had only used his office to speak for the less privileged – and the SARS took that as a crime instead.
“Several times, I’ve had to use my media platform to shout on behalf of the voiceless in our society who have had their rights trampled upon by people meant to protect them. I got my own first hand experience yesterday. Some of the officers made me know how they felt about that…literally.
“So my crimes are;
1. Attempting to record the beating of that boy.
2. Taking up SARS and police issues on radio.”
He further called on the National authorities, international authorities including the Ghanaian Government and media to wade into the matter as he fears for his life.
“I’m taking their threats to my life seriously and putting authorities on notice. But please be aware, if anything happens to me or my family, you know who to suspect”, Kofi said.
MY ORDEAL AT THE HANDS OF SARS MEN
Yesterday, I was driving in my area and saw SARS officers beating up a boy who lives in the area. His mum fries Akara for a living and I knew immediately that they wouldn’t be able to ‘settle’ the officers. He kept shouting “what have I done”,