By Evelyn Usman
May 9, 2014, will forever remain indelible in the memory of 49-year-old businessman, Mr Williams Nicholas Ejimozor, as it charted an insufferable course to the entire family.
The light complexion man and members of his family had woken up that Friday morning, without any inkling of what awaited any o f them.
All of a sudden, some stern looking security agents, in a commando-like manner, stormed his Ipaja Ayobo abode, in Lagos to conduct a search, at the end of which Ejimozor was whisked away. The operatives were later discovered to be men of the Department of State Services, DSS.
The singular act of that day, has cost the father of five his sight, as he is now being assisted to move around, by his wife.
In an interview with Crime Guard, he alleged that his blind state was as a result of the torture he received from the operatives during his 26 days in detention.
Asked what the mission of the operatives at his apartment were, the River State born Ejimozor, who was the Chief Executive Officer of Willtracko Merchant Limited, a freight forwarding company, said, “ They jumped through the fence and ransacked my house, searching for what I did not know.
“At the end of the search, they displayed about 53 pieces of fake dollar notes. I didn’t know how or where they got them from. I was asked to sign a document affirming that the fake dollar notes were found in my possession but I refused because I did not keep such dollar notes anywhere.
“ I was beaten mercilessly, in front of my family members, for refusing to sign the document, before I was taken to the DSS office at Shangisha, where I was detained
in the cell till the next day and told to write statement.
The beating of the previous day was only a prelude to what I went through thereafter. I was slapped over 57 times. They hit me with the butt of their guns on my head, saying that the only way they could leave me was for me to settle them with the sum of N15million since I was not ready to write my statement the way they wanted it.
”As I argued with the operatives over the non-disclosure of my purported offence, little did I know that I was only prolonging my days of ordeal, as they repeatedly told me that they were informed about my wealth and that nothing would make them to release me without parting with the N15million they were asking for. To make life most miserable and bizarre for me, I was denied access to phone and nobody was allowed to visit me”
He further stated that he passed out at a point, only to wake up to find himself on the hospital bed of the DSS.
Continuing, he said, “ I spent 25 days in the DSS custody, from where I moved to the Special Fraud Unit , SFU of the Nigeria Police Force located at Milverton Road, Ikoyi. But SFU operatives who suspected something was fishy, refused to accept me from them. I was then taken to the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID Yaba, where I was detained in D5 cell. That was when my wife was granted access to see me. The operatives there took me back to the DSS to recover my car and other valuables that were seized from me, on the day of my arrest. Thereafter, I was charged to the Yaba Magistrate court from where I was granted bail”.
Lost of sight
Incidentally, the prosecutors in the matter according to him, continuously absented themselves from court on the days the matter came up, forcing the magistrate to strike out the case for lack of prosecution.
But his supposed freedom was short-lived, as his vision became blurred until he completely went blind.
Attributing his loss of sight to the alleged torture in the hands of the operatives, the business man said, “ My present state is as a result of the massive attack on my head which affected several parts of the brain. I have gone to no fewer than seven hospitals in different states, seeking solution to the visual impairment. Unfortunately, my vision has been clinically confirmed dead. The impairment could not be reversed.
I am now abandoned in a miserable state by agents of the government. My company has collapsed and all my workers gone their separate ways.
At the moment, my family is at the mercy of our landlord who is threatening to eject us from his building over my inability to pay the rent”
Appeals to Buhari, Wike
He has therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Nyesom Wike, to come to his family’s aid before the inevitable occurs.
However, to keep body and soul together, Ejimozor, has picked up his writing skills and has at the moment written a book titled ‘ The Killer of Marriage’. He said he would use the proceed to feed his family, since he has nothing else to do.
On one of the doctor’s report dated November 30 and signed by Dr. K.O Musa, the Consultant , Ophthalmic Surgeon and Paediatric Ophthamologist, at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, it showed that the victim had a positive history of loss of consciousness, headache and loss of sensation in the right lower limb , after a head injury.
Part of the report read: “ Physical examination showed a conscious patient with a blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg and a pulse rate of 72 beats per minute regular of good volume. Ocular examination revealed a visual acuity of hand Movement and Light perception in the right and left eye respectively. Other ocular findings were sluggish papillary reaction , pale optic disc with a cup of disc ratio of 0.2…”.
Determined to get justice, the victim , sued the DSS and Attorney General of Federation before the Federal High Court of Lagos State. But he is presently appealing the January 16, 2019 judgment of Federal High Court on ground that he was displeased by the judgment. The Federal High Court had ruled that even though Ejimozor’s right was infringed, it was not enough for award damages against the DSS.
He is therefore, appealing the judgment , saying he wants to be compensated , in order to carry out surgery on the eyes , abroad, expressing hope that he could see again, if that was done.