By EMMANUEL ADIGWE
“My name is Ebi Tubotu…but I am popularly known as -SHAKARA-
I am a warri born standup comedian/Compere, and was under the tutelage of Nigerian Ace comedian, Ali Baba.
On Friday 19th, February 2016, at about 6:00am I was with my wife and two daughters (A year & some months old & 4months old baby) in my apartment at OSUBI in Okpe local government area, Warri, Delta state, when some group of policemen (4 in numbers), who claimed they were from Lagos, came to my compound…seriously banging the gate and shooting intermitently.
I came out to know what was going on when I saw my parents and younger brother Godbless Tubotu with them.
I was asked to identify myself which I did. And immediately, they bounced on me. I was mercilessly beaten with a gun butt and humiliated like a common criminal in the presence of my wife and my two daughters.
I was almost shut by INSPECTOR HUMPHREY who led the team if not for the quick intervention of my wife who jumped in between us while carrying our babies and told him (Humphrey) that he has to shoot her first.
Unknown to me… before they came to my house, they’ve already stormed the house which I lived with my parents before I got married. They arrested and threatened our former neighbours. And that was how my former neighbours led them to my parents house and forcefully gained entrance that early morning during their morning devotion.
They told my parents that they have been looking for me that I am a kidnapper and an armed robber. My 70year old dad told them that he didnt give birth to a criminal, that his son is a celebrity and the leader of the squard INSPECTOR HUMPHREY almost slapped my dad.
My parents and my younger brother was bundled and thrown into their van so as to show them where I live. Even when my dad pleaded with them to release my mom because she was not properly dressed, they refused. That was how they came to my residence.
At this point, they’ve seized all my phones and I was on handcuff. They started releasing bullets on air again sporadically like they just caught Tom Polo in my compound.
With the handcuff, singlet and boxer…I was thrown into their van and driven to Ugborikoko police station in Bendel estate Warri Delta State, Nigeria.
With blood gushing out of every part of my body, we arrived Ugborikoko police station. And that was when I actually noticed that they arrested my former neighbours.
And then…Inspector Humphrey who led the team from Area M, Idimu police station, Lagos, called me and asked me to call out my Airtel number, which I did: 08080300000.
I noticed his countenance changed the moment he compared my Airtel number with the one he has with him which was written on Airtel letter-head paper. It was so obvious that something was amiss.
Then I saw one of the officers that raided my compound, Mr. Bode, walked to him (Inspector Humphrey) and whispered something into his ear, but he (Humphrey) shouted down at Bode, telling him that the information given to them by Airtel Nig. Ltd can not be wrong. He insisted that he will deal with me and take me to Lagos, that I am the kidnapper they are looking for.
He did keep to his word eventually but thank God for God, because if not for God, due to their reckless driving, the police van we were in was almost crushed by a Dangote trailer.
At Ore where they decided to stop and eat…still on handcuff, singlet and boxers, they brought me out of the van. While the other travelers where still wondering what must I have done to warrant I been beaten in that manner, the very useless and untrained inspector Humphrey told them that I am a kidnaper. I could recall an elderly woman asking the Inspector if he actually know who he is calling a kidnapper. That question proved the fact that most of d travelers knew me as a comedian.
Finally we got to Lagos and I was thrown into the cell after all the insult and name calling by the police officers on ground that very day at the Area M Idimu police station.
They later brought me out to take my statement. Still confuse and really don’t know what to write, I introduced myself and what I do for a living, and the officer who was taking my statement interrupted and asked me to write that I am the kidnapper they have been looking for and that I used my Airtel number to call the woman’s husband demanding for ransom. This angered me and led to both of us exchanging words. At this point, a lady Inspector (Bose) came in and cautioned the officer.
She took me to the head, Idimu Police Command and it took him less than 20minutes to know that I was innocent.
During the interrogation he asked me where I was on January 1st which was the day of the incident of the kidnapping. And I told him I was in Eko Hotel & Suites, that I am one of the comedians billed to perform in Ali Baba’s show tagged -JANUARY 1ST-
I prompted him to call Ali Baba if he is in doubt, but he declined and said he believed me. He ordered for my release and left the station immediately.
But Inspector Humphrey insisted and threw me into the cell again and started threatening me that I will confess after he finished dealing with me.
He claimed that the husband of the kidnapped woman has my bank details and details of how much he has paid into my bank account.
It took the intervention of a lawyer, consulted by my family members to secure my bail. though he couldnt make it that night because of the serious traffic. He had to send a friend of his that is close to the police station.
And despite the fact that the police claims that bail is free, they collected a huge amount from us before the bail and also made us to sign the -BAIL IS FREE FORM-
After my bail, the friend of the lawyer that bailed me said he had other business to take care of and left.
So it was I alone in the middle of the night and in the middle of nowhere, stranded and still on singlet and boxer.
I was wandering like a madman around Anthony area of Lagos. I was fortunate to meet a shop owner that was already packing because it was almost mid-night. He was the one that helped with his phone and I was able to call my brother who left Warri to Lagos immediately they took me away because I had his number off-hand.
Luckily, the bus he boarded arrived Ojota not too long and he took a taxi and meet me up at Anthony bus stop where I was already freezing out wit cold.
I tried calling my boss Ali Baba whose number I also had off-hand because its a very easy one. But I was made to understand that he is out of the country.
My brother and I had to locate an hotel around that vicinity (SYLVERLINK HOTEL) where we passed the night and went back to Warri the following day.
It was a sad and painful experience and this is why I am demanding justice.
MY SPECULATION ABOUT THE TWIST:
It was clear that the police mistakenly sent my number to Airtel Nig. Ltd instead of the kidnapper’s number given to them. And as a result, Airtel traced my number instead of the kidnapper’s number and led the police to my location. That was how the police traced my former residence in Warri.
This is the same reason the other officer, Bode was trying to whisper into Inspector Humphrey’s ear, calling his attention on the error in both numbers (mine and the kidnapper’s number).
It is absurd that the people who suppose to protect us is now our nightmare.
I wrote a letter of my saga to the Inspector General Of Police through my lawyer, and for 5months, there was no reply.
I have sent petition to the Public Petition Committee,
Federal House Of Representatives and it was heard on Wednesday, July 20th, 2016. The committee on Public Petition took the case first hearing on the floor in Abuja and adjourned it till October 12th 2016.
All I ask is…