Having tattoos on your body seems to have become a 'crime' in Rivers State.

Barely 48 hours after Chioma Pius accused officers of the Rivers Police Command of brutalising her, another alleged victim of a similar attack has shared his experience.

The victim, Dereck Triggs, a paint producer, said prior to Pius’ ordeal, the car he was travelling in was stopped by the same set of policemen, who accused one of the occupants of wearing a tattoo.

He claimed that all occupants in the car, except his sister, were locked up in the cops’ mobile cell, adding that they were all released after paying N20,000.

Triggs, who narrated his experience after reading about Pius’ ordeal, said he and his siblings were attacked at the same junction on Wednesday, August 16, 2017.

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He said, “There were four of us in the car, including my siblings and a friend. We were coming from Benin and heading to Port Harcourt, where we work. Everything was fine until we got to the police checkpoint close to the Emohua council area around 12.04am. The policemen were about six in number.

“They asked to see the vehicle documents, which were released to them. The policemen, however, observed that the temporary driving licence of my brother, who drove the car, had expired. He told them that he had yet to get the permanent one.

“They asked us to park, after which they searched the car. When they didn’t find anything, one of them noticed my friend had a tattoo on one of his hands and they said we were all kidnappers and robbers.”

Triggs said he expressed reservation over the comment, which angered the policemen who punched and handcuffed him.

He said the officers also handcuffed another sibling of his, but held his sister in custody.

The policemen, after holding the siblings and friend for some time, asked the man with the tattoo, what he could offer them.

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The man was said to have offered N20,000, which they accepted.

“They stopped a cab driver, and after searching the cab, asked the man to settle them. He gave them some money. They then asked him to take my friend to where he could withdraw money for them.

“He didn’t see any ATM point until he got to Choba. He spent about one hour to get back and pay them. I got the number plate of their van, NPF 4982C AKU PH.  They handcuffed us, seized our phones, and humiliated us over nothing. We didn’t commit any crime,” he added.

Triggs said after the incident, he contacted the Police Public Complaint Rapid Response Unit, adding that more than two weeks afterwards, he had yet to get any feedback.

The Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, Omoni Nnmadi, said he was not aware of Triggs’ case, urging him to identify the cops.

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