SARS: Software developer narrates chilling case of extortion, assault by operatives

SARS: Software developer narrates chilling case of extortion, assault by operatives

The growing calls to #EndSARS received another case file on Saturday following a case of extortion by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

This time round, a Twitter user – Toni Astro – brought the development to light.

The victim – a software developer – narrated a chilling story of how he was assaulted by SARS operatives at Ogudu. Further, he disclosed how he had to part with half of the money in his account as a result.



Tweeting from the handle @toniastro_, the victim stated that his ordeal began when he boarded a bike via one of the bike hailing services from Abiola Gardens to Ketu. Upon getting to his destination, two SARS operatives stopped the bike.

“They asked for my phone and I unlocked it and gave them. They told the bike guy to end the trip and go. So they gave me my phone to pay the guy from the mobile app. After 20 seconds, they said I’m going with them to the station.

“And I was like what station…

“Next thing they pointed guns at my leg, telling me to enter another bike they stopped and go with them to their station.”

The victim who identifies as Toni Astro on Twitter

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Thereafter, the victim disclosed that the SARS operatives had demanded the sum of N1m to let him go.

“And I’m like 1 million?? Where would I get that from. I told him I’m not what you think. I’m a software developer at this company. He said everything na yahoo yahoo still. He physically harassed me on the bike still. To every onlooker on the street, I was a criminal or some sort.”

Next, the victim disclosed that he was taken to the Area H Command in Ogudu.

Victim says SARS operatives allegedly accused him of being a fraudster

There, he was taken to one of the rooms at the back of the station. His bag was taken from him. He revealed that the bag contained his laptop, watch charger, phone chargers and office jotters.

However, he disclosed that as soon as the SARS operatives saw the laptop, things went ugly for him.

“As soon as they saw the laptop, the other policemen there said you’re the one spoiling the economy. They told me to open it and immediately I did.

“About 4 other policemen were there, making a total of 6. Next thing was slaps and punch, here and there. All I could hear was confess you’re and internet fraudster or not? I kept saying I’m not a fraudster, I’m a developer for a company and all.”

Nevertheless, his pleas fell on deaf ears.

ALSO READ: Nyesom Wike, Rivers Governor, joins clamour to #EndSARS

“These guys took off my hoodie, and dragged me to the cell, locked me up with no proof or evidence that I was what they claimed me to be. I asked that I make calls, and they said that would be after I write my statement. One of them came to me and asked that I pay 500k.

“And I’m like 500k? From where? I said my student ID card is in my wallet, you could check it and see. They said they ain’t checking any ID Card. They went through my emails and WhatsApp conversations and found nothing.


“The beatings continued from about 4 police men, I requested that I called my relatives or anyone and they didn’t let me. One said I’d sleep in that cell till Monday except I’m ready to confess what I do for a living.

Victim allegedly assaulted, threatened with guns

“So they went through my emails and saw my account balance, next thing was you’d go to the bank to withdraw every dime in this account now and pay us. Money I worked for ?? What did I do?

“I already told them my dad was sick, and I was on my way home to help out. I told them 80% of the money was for dads treatment and the rest for my transport to work every day. Also, I explained the whole case to them. They said they don’t care about his health. I must pay them.”

Thereafter, the victim disclosed that the SARS operatives proceeded to threaten him with guns. Also, he was threatened with being taken to the maximum prison facility at Kirikiri.

Next, he was asked to go and withdraw half of the money in his account to effect his release.

ALSO READ: IGP ascribes 80% of Police success to SARS

“They requested I bring half of the money in my account for them, stating (man must chop). I just wanted to leave there, and I didn’t want it to be dark. It was about 5pm already. I then asked if I could just transfer instead of going to the bank to withdraw.

“And they said so you’d come back to trace us. The other ones started the beatings again. They told me to take a bike to a bank close to the station at Ogudu, and get the money.

“I left, went straight to the station to get the money. It was late, I couldn’t tell anyone to lend me a phone when I looked all battered. I got to the ATM, I couldn’t even think straight to get the correct pin. I got the money and took the bike back to the station.

“As soon as I got back, they took me back to the cell and counted the money. Then they said you can check all your things if they’re complete. All that was in my head was remote job isn’t it. I have to leave this country at the end.

Nigerians react

“I packed all my things, collected my watch and left the station at about 6pm. I’m home and safe now, but today still feels like a dream. I was physically harassed for no reason and paying someone or a group of people for no reason out of the money I worked for.

“I’ve been hearing people’s experiences and most of them complaining about not having an ID card. I had an ID card but they chose not to see it. All they wanted to hear was me accepting their accusation of what I wasn’t,” he concluded.

Subsequently, his experience drew a storm of angry reactions from Nigerians on the micro-blogging site, Twitter.


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