Christopher E. Mene, a Nigerian attorney who works in The Gambia, has expressed concern over the EFCC agents’ invasion of his property in Benin, Edo State, which consists of 12 three-bedroom apartments, and their detention of 44 occupants of the building.
He stated, “I left The Gambia for Nigeria on May 16 before naming my newborn baby. On May 23, I received a call from a guard on my property, which is at 15 Prince Osagie Street in Igue-Iheya, Benin. He informed me that, at around 2 am, about 25 men wearing EFCC jackets broke the padlock on the small gate, then broke down all the security doors on each apartment, and then forcibly took all of my tenants, along with their cars, to their office.
“Later that morning, I went there to check things for myself, and my security guard told me how they had broken into each apartment, brutally beaten the residents, broken a number of doors, and given one of the renters quite serious injuries that caused him to bleed excessively.
Blood streaks were visible on the ground from the tenant’s apartment all the way to the front gate, as well as on the wall where the renter is said to have rested his back after being abandoned by the invading forces while sitting on the ground.
Mene estimated that it would cost N4,179, 000 to replace all of the broken doors, but added that the final cost might be higher.
The tenants are still in the EFCC’s custody, he continued.
According to information from some of the residents’ relatives, the officials demand N1 million from each tenant before considering their release.
Mene went to the police station in Ugbowo to report the invasion after examining the damage to his property, but the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) informed him that the police would not get in the way of the EFCC’s investigation.
Wilson Uwujaren, the EFCC’s spokesman, responded by claiming that the agency had conducted a sting operation that resulted in the arrest of 44 individuals in online fraud at various sites throughout Benin.
“The suspects have been investigated, and 33 have been determined to be responsible for the alleged crime,” he stated. I’ll make an effort to verify whether the procedure had an impact on the aforementioned property in Iheya.
He further said, “However, it is important to state that contrary to the claims in the document, it is not the commission’s standard procedure to break into property except there is a willful attempt by suspects to evade arrest. The picture of gestapo-style operation with many damaged doors so gleefully painted without images and claims of bribe demand for bail are strange.
“The commission is averse to such. If truly such demands were made, the suspects should file a complaint with the Department of Internal Affairs.”