Lawyer narrates to NHRC panel how client was arrested while watching football match
A lawyer, Wisdom Elum, on Monday, narrated to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)’s independent investigative panel investigating violations of rights by the defunct SARS and other police units how his client, Ogaga Ohore, was arrested by operatives of the Inspector-General of Police’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT) while watching English Premiership, Manchester United match.
Elum made the narration at the hearing of the petition filed on behalf of Ohore by his family and wife, Bolanle Ogaga, marked 2020/IIP-SARS/ABJ/77, by the Justice Suleiman Galadima (retd)-led panel.
The petitioners joined Edwin Patrick; Mr Jonathan and Mr Aminu, all of the IGP-IRT as well as the IGP as respondents in the petition.
The lawyer told the panel that Ohore was arrested at the place he and others were watching the match on January 12, 2020, adding that all efforts by his family to access him had so far proved abortive.
“Ohore was arrested on January 12, 2020, by armed policemen from IRT, Abattoir, Abuja. During the arrest, he was in the midst of his friends watching Man Utd.
“The operatives stormed the venue and shot into the air. A strayed bullet killed one person instantly, while another person was injured. At that point, Ohore was arrested and taken to IRT’s office at Abattoir,” Elum told the panel.
He alleged that when Ohore’s wife, Bolanle, went to the IRT office to ask of her husband, she was arrested and detained together with two of her children for three days.
“She was released upon collecting money from her. Edwin Patrick used her ATM card and collected N50,000 (from her account).
“After collecting the money from her, Patrick warned her that her husband has been killed by them. He equally asked to call the father on phone. He spoke to the father and told him not to ask of the son again that he has been killed,” he alleged.
Elum said up till now the police had refused and ignored Ohore’s family’s pleas to see him, adding that since his arrest in January 2020, the family had yet to know the offence for which he was arrested.
He, therefore, prayed the panel to order an investigation into the unlawful arrest of Ohore by operatives of IRT, adding that investigation should also be carried out on the sudden disappearance of Ohore in custody.
He further prayed that while the N50,000 extorted from Ohore’s wife be refunded, the family should be compensated with the sum of N500million for his detention, keeping him incommunicado, the arrest of his wife and two children for three days.
Maxwell Ekpo and Taiwo Endurance Anyareno, two friends of Ohore who were together with him on the day of his arrested testified before the panel, narrating how he was arrested and taken away by men of the IRT.
Ekpo informed that on that day, they had gone to a betting centre, placed bet on matches and left for a garden called the Arena to watch the match.
He said in the course of watching the match, two men walked in with one of them asking Ohore to stand up.
“Ogaga told him he was watching a match. The policeman drew a pistol and shot in between Ogaga’s legs and said he was lucky he missed his legs. They later dragged Ogaga outside and the man shot about five times again,” Ekpo told the panel.
Under cross-examination by police counsel, James Idachaba, Ekpo informed that Ohore was selling fairly used clothes at Nyanya, Abuja, before his arrest.
According to him, he did not know where Ohore was staying but they only met at the garden to watch matches, adding that the police had never before his arrest come to the place to arrest anyone.
Following a request for an adjournment by Elum, Justice Galadima (retd), adjourned the petition till February 25 for the continuation of hearing.