A medical doctor travelling along a Nigerian highway had a horrible experience with some police operatives who “arrested” him for having anti-hypertensive medicines in his bag.
The doctor told PREMIUM TIMES he is hypertensive, and has been on medication.
The operatives, about five of them, allegedly told him they would not let him join the rest of the passengers on the commercial bus unless he gave them N100,000 on the spot.
“While inside the bus, I called the president of the resident doctors association of the facility I work in to inform him on what I’m going through. They (the operatives) immediately rushed in and snatched my phone from me during the call,” said the doctor who identified himself as Nneji Chinedu.
The doctor did not want the name of his hospital disclosed in this report for fear of attack if the authorities eventually sanctioned the operatives.
Mr Chinedu said in a Twitter post that the incident happened on Sunday at a checkpoint at Idumukpoko junction, while he was traveling from Edo State, South-south Nigeria, to Onitsha, in the South-east.
He said he eventually gave the operatives N50,000 cash after they had threatened to handcuff him.
The doctor described the spot where the incident happened as “middle of nowhere”. He said he was afraid for his life, more so when the leader of the police team told him that nobody was coming to save him.
The anti-hypertensive drugs the police found on Mr Chinedu were Ramipril, Hydrochlorothiazide, Atorvastatin, Aspirin, and Bisoprolol.
He also had inside his bag Sinufed, a medication that is used to treat cough and nasal congestion, Amoxicillin, which is an antibiotic, and an EDTA container.
EDTA (Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) is a medication used in the management and treatment of heavy metal toxicity.
“The officers said these are controlled drugs and that I should provide my prescription notes,” the doctor told PREMIUM TIMES.
PREMIUM TIMES asked Mr Chinedu if he had properly identified himself as a doctor to the police.
“I hadn’t my ID card at that point, but I told them I could log into the MDCN portal with my unique folio number. My details as a registered doctor can be assessed,” he responded.
He said the operatives refused to listen to him.
Mr Chinedu said he had no cash to continue with his journey after giving the operatives N50,000.
“I begged some people at Onitsha for N1,000 to get to Nnewi,” he said. “I arrived home with Just N400.”
The doctor said that was the first time he had such an experience with the police in Nigeria.
“Sympathisers were pleading with me not to claim right. They rather asked me to do as the policemen instructed. I guess they know I could be killed when the driver of our vehicle finally leaves,” he said.
The doctor wrote on Twitter, “Today, I developed extreme hatred for a country I call mine because of the elements we have as security agents.”
A few hours after Mr Chinedu posted his experience on Twitter, the police spokesperson in Delta State, Bright Edafe, took to the microblogging site to inform the public that the operatives had been arrested.
“The team has been identified, summoned and detained at the state police headquarters,” Mr Edafe, a deputy superintendent of police, said.
“Their action is completely unacceptable. On completion of their orderly room trial, I will update us all,” he added.
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