A popular comedian, Mr. Debola Adebayo, known as Mr. Macaroni, has made a six minute video, narrating how he and 39 others were arrested, beaten and threatened by policemen. Macaroni said police told him that they could kill him along with others and nothing would happen.
This came less than 24 hours after Macaroni was arrested over alleged conspiracy, conduct likely to cause breach of peace and violation of COVID-19 protocols by police in Lagos State.
This was even as the state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, yesterday called for an investigation into the inhuman treatment meted out on Macaroni and others
On Saturday, Macaroni and other young Nigerians were at the Lekki Tollgate to protest the proposed fixing and reopening of the toll gate. The tollgate was destroyed during the last #EndSARS protests, which rocked many states across Nigeria.
The protest was over police brutality, extortion and extrajudicial killings. Many protesting youths last year were believed to have been killed or injured at that very tollgate after soldiers reportedly opened fire on them, while trying to disperse them.
But on Saturday, Macaroni and others were stripped, packed into the back of a police patrol, with the policemen wilfully negligent of the COVID-19 protocols of social distance and face masks.
A video, showing how Macaroni and the 39 others were stripped and bundled into the back of the patrol van went viral, eliciting condemnations from different quarters. In his video yesterday, Macaroni thanked everyone, including lawyers, who were instrumental to his release.
He also said that at some point after his arrest, he feared for his life. Macaroni said he and others were taken to Adeniji Police Station and beaten.
The policemen also allegedly told him and others that they would kill them and nothing would happen. He said: “It’s not that I’m the bravest. In fact, I was scared and I didn’t want to go out.
Everyone called me; my father, siblings and friends urged me not to go out. In all honesty, I didn’t want to, but the only reason I went was because I knew people would be there. I knew people would die.
I saw it and I can confirm to you, if word had not got out, people would have died and nobody would have known where anyone was or who picked up who. “The situation we are now in this country is a deep shit.
You can’t blame anyone. People are scared. I’m scared and we know we have a government that has zero value for human lives.
“We need to come together to speak against what is going on in our society. I had already heard that three people had been arrested. We were taken to Adeniji, stripped and beaten.
Everyone was beaten. I have asked for the names of the 39 people who were with me; males and females. I didn’t have the courage to go out; it was those 39 people that went out, that gingered me to go out. I just said let me go out and see what was happening.
“These 39 people are the real heroes. They went out and they said, ‘look, we’re not here to fight, we just want to know why you people want to open the toll gate, is that the next thing to do?’
There had been no justice for families who lost loved ones last year and businesses were destroyed. Opening the toll gate…is that the next line of action? Nobody supports violence, but we need to come together to speak to the government.
“There were over 200 policemen at the tollgate on Saturday and you want to tell people that you can’t guarantee peaceful protest if there was one?
If word was not out that we were being held, people would have died. The policemen were telling us; they would shoot us and nothing would happen.
That if it was night, every one of us would have died. But you can’t continue to silence us. You can’t continue to oppress us.”
He ended his video by raining curses on people who had allegedly been spreading lies that he collected money from former Vice- President Atiku Abubakar or some other people to join the Saturday protest. Yesterday, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Muyiwa Adejobi, said Odumosu had condemned the molestation of Macaroni and others and had also instituted an immediate investigation