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I developed heavy vaginal bleeding after severe beating by Maroko policemen –Lekki toll gate shooting survivor

Miss Jeremiah. Photo: Tessy Igomu

Twenty-three-year-old Miss Jeremiah, who works as a barber, says she was left with life-threatening injuries after she was brutalised by policemen during the Lekki toll gate tragic incident of Tuesday, October 20.

The young lady alleged that the harsh treatment meted to her by policemen from Maroko Police Station left her with heavy vaginal bleeding, chest pain and stiff neck.

In an exclusive interview with PUNCH HealthWise at Reddington Hospital, Lekki, where she was referred to for a follow-up test, Jeremiah told our correspondent that the policemen kicked her repeatedly in the stomach, and also hit her neck and back with heavy woods without putting into consideration her sex.

It may be recalled that on Tuesday, October 20, security agents shot at #ENDSARS protesters at the Lekki toll gate, leading to yet-to-be ascertained number of casualties.

Speaking with our correspondent inside a tent erected at the entrance to Reddington Hospital, Jeremiah [first name withheld] said she joined the protest to carry out free haircut for protesters.

The young barber, who hails from Delta State, alleged that protesters were shot at by soldiers and policemen, adding that many people were seriously wounded.

“I am very sick right now. I can’t breathe well and my chest aches badly.

“I have been bleeding profusely since those policemen beat me like a criminal,” she said.

Continuing, she said, “I work as a barber. I joined the #ENDSARS protest to ask for my rights and to also cut protesters’ hair for free. I took a week off work to join in the protest.

“On Tuesday, we learnt that the Lagos State Government had imposed a curfew, which was meant to commence by 4pm.

“We later learnt that it had been shifted to 9.pm. DJ Switch, one of those coordinating the protest, told us to set up by a corner in case we needed to hurriedly pack up and leave.

“We realised that the street lights and led light on the billboard by the Lekki toll plaza had been switched off.

‘I AM VERY SICK RIGHT NOW. I CAN’T BREATHE WELL AND MY CHEST ACHES BADLY. I HAVE BEEN BLEEDING PROFUSELY SINCE THOSE POLICEMEN BEAT ME LIKE A CRIMINAL’

“By 7pm, when it was getting dark, I stopped barbering and packed my tools.

“I was among those standing at the front. We were singing the national anthem when soldiers emerged and started shooting directly at us.

“I was confused and started running in the dark. One young man used a table to shield me as we ran blindly in the dark.

“As the shooting continued, DJ Switch kept telling us to sit on the ground or lie down.

“She kept assuring us over the microphone that as long as we kept singing the national anthem and waving the national flag, the soldiers won’t shoot us.

“But we were surprised that they kept shooting at us in the dark. I saw several people that were badly wounded being carried away by protesters.

“I ran with my friends into Lekki Phase One, so as to link the other Lekki toll gate.

“We discovered that some hoodlums had set up bonfires and were destroying signposts, but we managed to pass.

“When we got to Sola Osinbo Street, I fainted, because I had not eaten throughout the day.

“As I was being resuscitated inside a plaza, the security man in charge of the place told us to hide.

“We didn’t know that some policemen were trailing us. They (policemen) came and started hitting the security man with the butt of their guns; They wanted him to show them where we hid.

‘I SAW SEVERAL PEOPLE THAT WERE BADLY WOUNDED BEING CARRIED AWAY BY PROTESTERS’

“Because we were not well concealed, the policemen found and flogged us with whips. They ordered us into a van, and as one of my friends made to explain that I had fainted earlier and was very weak, he was kicked and ordered to lift me into the vehicle.

“They drove with us round Lekki, shooting and arresting more people, especially those standing outside their gates.

“By the waterside, some protesters saw the policemen approaching and jumped into the water.

“The police officers still went and started shooting into the water. Those that couldn’t swim started pleading as they climbed out of the water.

“After driving with us for several hours, we got to Maroko Police Station at about 11pm.”

Jeremiah claimed that immediately she and other arrested persons alighted from the police van, several policemen started hitting them with sticks and woods.

“They flogged me four times on my buttocks and because I was very weak, I couldn’t scream or react.

“The policemen became angry that I was not crying and labeled me as one of those that led the protest.

“They then began to hit me on the neck and back with planks. One of them kicked me on the jaw and stomach.

“One policeman got very angry that I wore a chain on my wrist and stepped on it till it cut into two.

‘BY THE WATERSIDE, SOME PROTESTERS SAW THE POLICEMEN APPROACHING AND JUMPED INTO THE WATER. THE POLICE OFFICERS STILL WENT AND STARTED SHOOTING INTO THE WATER’

“They wanted to pull off my earrings but I had to appeal to them to let me remove it.

“When my phone rang, one of them collected and smashed it on the floor.

“Later a senior Police officer, a male, who had been observing what was happening, came and lifted me up and hugged me. It was at that time that I started crying.

“He also called out my friend and kept us aside until about 3am when a Black Maria came and took the others away. Those taken away were not allowed to contact their relatives,” she narrated.

The barber, who said she was still traumatised and had yet to be able to sleep, recalled receiving treatment at a private facility, before losing consciousness again.

“The pain on my chest became very severe and I was referred to Reddington Hospital on Saturday. I am here with the X-Ray result the doctor said I should do.”

‘I HAVE BEEN BLEEDING FOR ONE WEEK NOW. I USE MORE THAN SEVEN PACKS OF PADS IN A DAY’

Continuous bleeding

Jeremiah told our correspondent that her monthly cycle had stopped a day before the incident, but that after her manhandling by the policemen, she had been bleeding continuously.

“The blood keeps gushing out and it’s making me to be very weak. I have been bleeding for one week now. I use more than seven packs of pads in a day,” she cried.

Speaking also, her mother, Faith, said she was very unhappy that her daughter could be brutalised by those who were paid to protect her.

She expressed fears over her daughter’s health, noting that it had kept her awake most nights.

“She is in severe pain. She keeps going to change into new pads and we keep buying more. This is unfair,” Faith said.

Narrating how she got to know about the incident, Faith said, “I was on the phone with her when the line went dead and became unreachable.

“One of her friend’s later called to tell me that she had been arrested by policemen.

“It was at that point that everybody started tweeting. Initially, we thought she had been killed.

“It was God that saved her life. I am very happy that my daughter was among those that stood up for justice. I am also happy she is alive to tell her story,” she said.

When contacted on Wednesday, the phone number [08023275xxx] listed for Maroko Division rang out without anyone picking it up.

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