A security guard assaulted by the chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Umar, in Abuja on Monday, has narrated his ordeal to PREMIUM TIMES.
The victim, Clement Sargwak, tracked down by our reporter on Wednesday, is a 22-year-old employee of Jul Reliable Guards Services Limited, posted as a security guard to Banex Plaza, in Wuse, Abuja, where he was attacked by Mr Umar on Monday.
Mr Umar was caught in a viral video clip slapping and kicking the security guard following an altercation between them over the space where the CCT chairman parked his car on the premises of the plaza.
The CCT, in a statement, on Tuesday, denied the assault allegation, insisting that it was Mr Umar that was assaulted by “some miscreants” who gathered at the scene of the incident.
In what appears a bid to justify Mr Umar’s attack on the security guard, the statement stated that Mr Sargwak was ‘rude’ in ordering the CCT chairman to remove his car from the parking space “for no reason”.
Mr Umar’s conduct has been widely condemned with many Nigerians calling for his prosecution.
But narrating his ordeal, Mr Sargwak, who had a bruised lip, said in pidgin English that he was assaulted after informing Mr Umar that his car was wrongly parked.
He said, ”I work as a security man stationed at the car park section at the old Banex Plaza. I was on duty when a man (Mr Umar) arrived in his car at the plaza and I noticed he parked his vehicle wrongly.
“Then I approached him to inform him about his wrong parking, because he had parked by the roadside obstructing other visitors arriving at the plaza.
”After I informed him about his wrong parking, he came out and slapped me, when he slapped me the driver also came down and slapped me and they tore my uniform and they stepped over me severally.”
Responding to the allegation that he threatened Mr Umar, Mr Sargwak said, ”It was even the ‘Oga’ by himself (Mr Umar) that went to his car to pick up an iron rod in an attempt to hit me on my head.
“A tenant at the plaza quickly held his hand and pleaded with him on my behalf not to hit me with the metal.
”I later ran to meet my supervisor to come to my aid. I was unable to find my supervisor. But I later got my head guard to report my situation. On getting there, my head guard called the Banex police.
“I was slapped and kicked again by Mr Umar, policeman.”
Mr Sargwak said Mr Umar called the policemen and State Security Service (SSS) operatives attached to him as security details from home and waited for them to arrive.
He said on the arrival of the security details, a policeman among them also slapped him “on the order of Mr Umar”.
“When the police from Banex arrived at the scene, they tried calming the situation after speaking with him without success. The Oga called the police and SSS stationed at his residence and ordered the driver to go pick the security officers while he waited for them.
”When the man arrived with the security men, the Oga slapped me again in front of the police and ordered a police officer to also slap me which he did and thereafter ordered me to kneel down and I obeyed. As I went on my knees, the Oga also kicked me in my face and hit my mouth. I fell and my head guard then took me to my M.D’s office. That was when the Maitama Police Division came and took us to their station,” Mr Sargwark said.
Two witnesses, who declined to give their names for fear of possible victimisation, told PREMIUM TIMES how Mr Umar assaulted Mr Sargwak in defiance of pleas from people around.
Bailed by plaza’s lawyer
He said after spending some time at the Maitama police division, the Banex plaza’s lawyer arrived to free him.
”When we got there with the man (Mr Umar) he was at the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) office but he later left. I was later approached by the police to call my manager from the plaza so we can be released. My manager came along with the Banex plaza’s lawyer and I was later bailed from the Maitama Police Station,” Mr Sargwak said.
Asked if he spent the night at the cell? he said, ”No I did not spend the night there. I was not even put inside the cell.”
He added, ”As we returned to the Banex Plaza in the evening at about 7p.m. I saw him (Mr Umar) with my two eyes open. They came to arrest a man, Peter Onyiuke, who had helped him pick up his phone and immediately returned; because his phone had dropped on the floor when he was beating me.
”He arrived with two Hilux vehicles filled with operatives of the SSS. He dropped them and left. SSS operatives fired some shots in the air and they took him away.”
Sargwak’s lawyer speaks
While on a visit to the plaza on Wednesday, our reporter observed that about three police officers in mufti said to be from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command and the Maitama Police Division were interrogating Mr Sargwak behind closed doors.
Samuel Ihensekhien, a lawyer to the owners of the plaza who also represents Mr Sargwak, told PREMIUM TIMES that the Police FCT Police Command had taken over the case.
He said, ”It was brought to my attention that on March 29, Mr Sargwak was assaulted and harmed and was on the verge of almost being killed by Mr Danlandi Umar. And he was subsequently taken to the Maitama Police Station.
“I was informed that Mr Danladi Umar went to lay a complaint there and they (the police) have taken his (Mr Sargwak’s) statement. I met with the DPO and I brought out the video recordings of what actually happened.
”They (the police) were very surprised, and the DPO saw the footage and immediately ordered he (Sargwak) be released on bail forthwith. He was then handed to the Banex manager and from there he was taken for medication.”
Mr Ihenskhien, who was displeased with the treatment Mr Sargwak got from the police, insisted that his client, being the assault victim, “should be treated like the nominal complainant”.
He said, “We do not have a problem with the police invite, but with the way the matter has progressed, he has the status as a nominal complainant, because he was the one that was assaulted.
”They (police) came this morning and about three of them in mulfti from the FCT Command and Maitama Police station with two police officers who were escorts. They took his statement again, and his photograph. I am not comfortable with that. If they want anything from him, they should invite his lawyers, not him.”