The love affair between Mr. Desmond Omijie and his Gladys has gone sour, with both spitting fire and fighting over the ownership of a Toyota Corolla car, 2009 model. Caught in the middle of the lovers’ war are members of the Nigeria Police Force from Edo State Police Command and Zone 5 Police Headquarters, who have been accused of being biased by Omijie. He also accused the policemen of torture. Omijie said policemen attached to Irrua Police Station, Edo State, repeatedly slapped and beat him. According to him, they also used the butts of their guns to hit him, in order to cow him into surrendering his car to Gladys, who he described as his estranged fiancée. He said: “Since those policemen slapped me, I can no longer hear very well with one of my ears. I was mercilessly beaten and forced by the policemen to sign away my car to my fiancée.
I bought the car from the dealer in the presence of Gladys.” Omijie said he and Gladys met on Facebook and later fell in love. The relationship lasted for four years. The lovers are from the same village. During courtship, they discovered that Gladys’ father had once worked with Omijie’s father. This discovery further drew them closer and then Omijie proposed. He added: “The engagement brought her family and mine closer. We were supposed to get married on March 20, but because of COVID-19, we had to postpone and pick another date, which coincided with her birthday.
After picking the wedding date, I bought everything needed for the wedding, including invitation cards and paid for the hall. I was the one who also bought the wedding gown. When she arrived in Nigeria from Italy, I went to the airport to pick her; this was before COVID-19. To my surprise, I saw a guy with her who she claimed was her cousin.” Omijie recalled that on February 24, after Gladys and her cousin got to his house in Abuja, she told him that they would be going to Irrua, from there to Benin to pick up some wines. He said that Gladys sent the wine through a friend in Italy. He added: “Before we left Abuja for Benin, her cousin demanded the photocopies of my vehicle’s particulars. He said that he didn’t want police to disturb us during our journey. I gave them to him and went to bed.
What saved me was that they didn’t take the original receipt of the car I collected from the dealer. When we finally got to Irrua, my fiancée’s cousin said he wanted to see his brother that we should wait for him. He returned after some minutes and we drove off. “After some minutes of driving, we got to a police checkpoint.
The policemen asked us where we were coming from, I told them Abuja. One of the policemen said they suspected us and took us to their station. When we got there, I was asked how I bought the car, that an event planner like me couldn’t afford such a car. I made a statement on how I bought the car, they said I was lying. They started hitting and slapping me. They dragged me on the ground and called me a liar.” Omijie said that after a while, Gladys was invited into the room by the policemen. Omijie said that he was shocked to hear Gladys telling policemen that she bought the car for him.
He added: “She suddenly removed the engagement ring I had given her and said she was no longer interested in the relationship. “She stormed out of the station, while the policemen tore up my first statement. The policemen asked me to write another statement. I told them I needed to call my lawyer before writing anything. The policemen collected my two phones and started beating me again. They insisted I should write the statement to save my life. I had to write under duress, after which I was allowed to go home. But the car was impounded.” Omijie said that he reported the matter at Zone 5, Benin and the policemen from Irrua Police Station were invited. He said that the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) lied that he willingly forfeited the car to Gladys. He said: “It’s true she gave me money, but it was meant for us to rent an apartment. After our engagement, she said she couldn’t live in my one-room self-contained apartment. She gave me money to get a befitting three bedroom flat. After I got the apartment, I sent the receipt to her. I was surprised when she later said the money was for me to buy a car, which is why she’s now claiming my car as hers.” Omijie said that since his encounter with the policemen, he had been taking medication due to pains in his ear caused by the several slaps the policemen gave him. “In fact, the policemen threatened to make sure I end up in prison if I didn’t release my car to Gladys. I now strongly believe I was lured to Benin by my fiancée after she had made arrangements with the policemen at Irrua Police Station. I don’t know why she’s claiming what doesn’t belong to her. I bought the car in 2019 and registered it in my name. She was there when I bought it,” Omijie said. It was after Omijie petitioned the Assistant-Inspector General of Police (AIG), Zone 5 Police Command, Benin, Mr. Dibal Yakadi, that the policemen, along with their DPO, were invited. The AIG instructed an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) to head the investigation. Omijie said that initial investigation indicted the policemen from Irrua Police Station, but suddenly, the matter was allegedly twisted in favour of Gladys. He explained that for over two months, the ACP had continued to dilly-dally over the case, repeatedly asking him to report to his office, without making any further progress until July 10, 2020. On that day, Omijie was invited again and to his utter shock, he was detained based on a fresh petition from Gladys. He said: “They refused to grant me bail unless I agreed to forfeit my car to Gladys. I believe they are covering up the unprofessional and biased conduct of their colleagues at Irrua Police Station. They wanted to intimidate me by aiding my fiancée to collect my car. My fiancée was in Nigeria when I bought and registered the car. She never sent me money to buy the car, but in her new petition, she claimed I bought the car with the money she sent to me from Italy. The car receipt was signed in my name and issued in the presence of Gladys.” When Gladys was contacted to get her own reactions, she said that she didn’t want to speak on the matter, adding that the car under dispute was parked at Zone 5, Command, Benin, Edo State. She stated that Omijie was being economical with the truth and urged journalists to do everything possible to find out the truth. According to her, she didn’t enjoy being called repeatedly by strangers to speak on the matter between her and Omijie. She said that the matter was already with the police and that the police should be allowed to do their job. Gladys said that Omijie had often accused her of threatening his life, which she said was a lie. She described Omijie as shameless and asked why he was fighting with her over a car which she bought with her money. She said that Omijie had already confessed and told the police that she was the owner of the car, but later changed his narration for reasons best known to him. The Executive Director of Rule of Law And Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), Mr. Okechukwu Nwanguma, who got involved in the matter after Omijie ran to his organisation, seeking justice, had petitioned Yakadi, urging him to probe the different policemen that had investigated the matter, both in Irrua Police Station and Zone 5, Benin, respectively. He said: “RULAAC contacted the IPO at Zone 5, Destiny Lucky, concerning Omijie’s complaint about twisting of the case, torture and intimidation. The IPO said that Omijie admitted his fiancée gave him money to buy the car, contrary to what Omijie told us at RULAAC. “We questioned Omijie again after we spoke with Lucky, and he maintained that his fiancée didn’t give him money to buy the car. He then told us that Lucky tortured and forced him to sign a false statement admitting his fiancée’s false claims.” Nwanguma urged the AIG to order an impartial investigation into the allegations of bias and manipulation of investigation, torture and intimidation.