A renowned broadcast journalist in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Kofi Bartels, has recounted his ordeal in the hands of officials of the Federal-Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS).
The on-air personality who is the lead anchor of a widely listened early morning phone-in interactive programm on radio “Hard facts”, said he was allegedly beaten to stupor for carrying out his professional duties.
Bartels, who shortly after regaining consciousness hinted some of his colleagues about the incident , said: “Good evening, I was given the beating of my life today by SARS men, handcuffed, bungled into a bus and taken to their HQ (headquarters) for more beating. I have a swollen knee as I type this.”
He later gave full account of what happened: “I drove out of my compound to get something; on my way, I saw some SARS men trying to arrest a boy who lives in the area.
“The boy’s mum fries Akara for a living and I knew immediately that they wouldn’t be able to ‘settle’ the officers. I made to go plead with them but at a point hesitated and chose to take a shot of the bus and numberplate in case the purported SARS men were impostors.
“When they sighted me taking the photograph, they quickly rushed and pounced on me. I was given the beating of my life. Right on the road.
“They started by smashing my knees with wooden bars. As I type this, my left knee is swollen and my right knee is seriously bruised.
“I was further beaten without any iota of mercy when we arrived at their Headquarter office. Six SARS men took turns to slap, punch, kick me all over, one person at a time.
“In fact one swore he would have wasted me if his team was the one that picked me up.
“As if that was not enough, a couple of them told me to watch my back, that this is my end in Rivers State.”
He called on the SARS commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Akin Fakorede, the state Commissioner of Police Musa Belel, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), to call the men of F-SARS to order, adding that his life and that of his family members are in there hands.
He also called on the federal and state governments as well as the human right organisations to intervene in the situation.