Operatives of the Lagos State Taskforce on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit, have allegedly battered a 500level Business Administration student of the Lagos State University, leaving her with a broken arm and several injuries in the process.
The student, 28-year-old Sewuese Matthew, was reportedly battered for using her foster sister’s mobile phone to video the operation of the officials on Durosimi-Etti Drive, in the Lekki Phase 1 area of the state.
Acording to Matthew,
“On Wednesday, February 8, my sister and I were going out of the estate in her car, when the car had a flat tyre. While we were at the vulcanizer’s place trying to fix the tyre, the task force officials stormed the area and packed wares displayed by the roadside.
“There was chaos and some people were filming what was happening. I also tried to do so while my sister was pleading with them. A tall policeman among them walked up to me, snatched the phone and started punching me.
“I ran to my sister, crying. He smashed the phone on the ground and she picked it. The officer and other policemen chased her and started hitting her until they collected the phone from her. I rushed there and pleaded with them to leave her. They punched me in the mouth, face and neck. I also broke my hand.”
“But when the officials appeared before the chairman, they told him a different story, saying we insulted them. The chairman then vowed to deal with us and we were detained. The next morning, they charged us to court in Ogba. I could not meet up my bail conditions that day, so I was taken to the Kirikiri Prison without my injuries being treated. I was released on Friday when the bail was perfected and I went to the Lagos Island General Hospital for treatment,” she added.
The spokesperson for the task force, Taofiq Adebay said:
He, however, denied that the women were assaulted by the officials.
He said, “No responsible and responsive government will allow activities that contradict the state environmental law to go on. In the course of enforcing the law on the walkway on the estate, the machine of a vulcaniser was impounded. He had been warned several times not to position his machine by the roadside.
“The ladies in question were not directly involved in the matter. But because they wanted to gauge the tyre, they intervened. One of them started filming with a phone. In enforcement, we don’t allow such. She was saying all sorts of things against the chairman and the state governor.
“The case is now in court and the phone is still with the court as an exhibit. They were never assaulted. Members of the public don’t have the right to record enforcement agents performing their lawful duties without the permission of the authority.”