Petitioner slumps while narrating ordeal in hands of SARS

A petitioner before the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) independent investigative panel on violations of rights by defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police units, on Monday, slumped while narrating his ordeals in the hands of SARS operatives in Anambra State to the panel.

The petitioner, Timothy Ogbeye, slumped when a member of the panel was asking him a question after he testified in one of the two petitions he has before the panel, marked 2020/IIP-SARS/ABJ/120.

The development forced Garba Tetengi SAN, who stood in for the chairman of the panel, Justice Suleiman Galadima (retd), to adjourned further hearing of the petition till March 24, 2021, following a request made to that effect by counsel for the petitioner, Akinola Apanisile.

He was thereafter taken from the panel to the hospital after being revived.

Ogbeye had alleged his unlawful arrest and detention, threat to life, assault, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment and right to his property against the respondents in the petition.

Ogbeye had joined Inspector Oriyomi Aregbelo; Uche Onnonogbo; Andrew James and Patrick Agbazue, all of the defunct SARS, Awkuzu, Anambra State, as well the officer in charge, defunct SARS, Anambra State, Commissioner of Police, Anambra State and Inspector-General of Police as respondents.

While narrating his ordeals in the hands of the SARS operatives, the petitioner, who said he was a car dealer, informed that he was going to pay for granites with the sum of N1.5million in his car on January 22, 2020, when a colleague called him that some people wanted to buy a car from his car stand.

According to him, he had to return to the stand and started negotiating with the supposed buyers only for them to start beating him in the process.

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Ogbeye informed that the supposed buyers who later turned to be policemen arrested him and his younger brother and took five cars, including a Toyota Venza from his stand.

“They took us to Kwali where I met a man who sold a car to me in 2019. He told me that the officer in charge of SARS at Awkuzu gave out all the cars seized by SARS to his people.

“He told me that the officer gave one of the cars to his wife. He told me not to worry as long as he gave me all documents to the vehicle he sold to me,” he told the panel.

The petitioner alleged that the police personnel dumped the car he was going to pay for granites in which he had N1.5m in a ditch and it became a complete write-off.

According to him, after five days, he and his brother were taken to Anambra State, where he alleged he was asked to pay N2 million to be set free, adding that he refused to pay the money.

He further alleged as a result of his refusal to pay the money, the was severely tortures by SARS operatives and paraded as an armed robber by the police.

“They asked me to list the names of animals I know in Nigeria. I listed snake, dog and others. They then asked me to crawl like a snake, bake like a dog. They asked the name of my wife and I told them.

“They ordered me to do practice how I sleep with my wife till I discharge. Instead of discharging, it was blood that came of me,” he alleged.

Ogbeye informed that his lawyer filed a suit before the court, adding that despite the court’s orders to produce him and later to release him, the SARS operatives refused to comply with the court orders.

He stated that it took the intervention of DIG Celestine Okoye, who heard about his (Ogboye’s) ordeals before he released four months after.

He told the panel, “I have been sick since. Even now, I was coming from Maitama Hospital where I was asked to go to Garki Hospital.”

Ogbeye, however, told the panel that he wanted a N10million compensation for the violation of his rights.








Petitioner slumps while narrating ordeal in hands of SARS

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