. Arrest 5 staff, cart away computers, documents
Riot policemen of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Scorpion Division, Ikeja, Lagos at the prompting of embattled Senator Ikechukwu Obiora, on Friday, invaded and shut down operations at The Daily Times Nigeria (DTN) complex, Ikeja, Lagos, as they arrested five members of staff and went away with computers and vital documents.
The riot policemen, who also wore bulletproof vests, came in at about 10am and shut the gate, thereby preventing any car from going in or out of the premises. They thereafter asked everyone to identify himself.
Those carrying the identity card of DTN were asked to stay in a place. Those who came in to transact one business or the other were turned back at the gate. At the end of the exercise, which lasted over two hours, they went away with five members of staff.
Those arrested were Tinu Ashiru, assistant manager, Human Resources; Ayodele Ibitoye, the accountant; two Graphic designers, Afolabi Adeboye and Marvelous Eyo; and James Olagoke, of the Advert department.
At the reception, they asked the officer in the Front Desk, Adamma Ikeme, to take them to the office of the chairman, but she politely asked them for warrant of arrest which they told her was on the phone and refused to show the so-called warrant of arrest.
Ikeme also told riot policemen that she was not in the position to give them the answer, as her scope of duty did not go beyond the front desk. They left, but not without the five members of staff they had arrested earlier.
After two hours, they came back with Tinu Ashiru (HR head) and Ayodele Ibitoye (the accountant) and matched them to the office, where they ransacked and carted away vital documents. They also went back with them.
An eyewitness of the infamous act, said: “The officers who were fully armed with AK-47 riffles as if they were fighting Boko Haram members, seized phones of individuals present in the DTN office and harassed customers from carrying out their daily activities. We don’t know what they are looking for but they took away five members staff, computers and vital documents”.
But one of the riot policemen, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that they did not know why the members of staff were arrested, adding that they (the. Scorpion Division ) were ordered to give back up to the two senior police officers who came from Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The Daily Times gathered that the two officers, who were said to have come from Abuja, refused to talk with anyone nor disclosed their mission to anyone, even when the staff arrested asked why they were being arrested, they simply replied: “You will know when we get to the station”.
Also, one of the riot policemen, who didn’t want to be named, disclosed in a soft tone saying: “Na big men fight”, as they kept on requesting for the Editor’s phone number and other management staff who were yet to resume at the office for the day.
The eyewitness added that though the riot policemen were saying that Na Big men fight”, the invasion was meant to cripple the operations of DTN.
When The Daily Times’ lawyer made spirited efforts to secure the bail of the detained members of staff at the SARS office in Ikeja, the officer in charge told the lawyer that the order to detain them “came from above”. from the office of IGP Monitoring Team in Abuja.
When reminded that the action was illegal on the grounds that there was no warrant of arrest, the officer replied that his men were only obeying the directive from the office of IGP Monitoring Team.
The arrested five members of staff are still being detained at SARS office at press time
Ladesope Ladelokun and Alade Tasma, Lagos