As the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Enquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS related abuses and other matters continue their sitting, a lady, Ndubuisi Obiechina, who filed a petition before the panel, has shared the chilling story of how members of the disbanded police unit allegedly kept her in detention for 22 days and caused her to lose her pregnancy.
Ndubuisi, a teacher, told the panel that men of the police unit arrested her in 2017 on allegations that she was a thief and a kidnapper. She said her ordeal started on June 1 when she received a text message from an unknown person claiming she had a package from one of the big logistics companies. She said the caller kept on calling her with different numbers and demanding her address so she could receive the package. Unaware that she was to receive any package, Ndubuisi said she called her husband and he advised she gave the caller her office address.
She said it was the next day, June 2, 2017, that her ordeal began. According to her, some men arrived at her school in a black Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV).
“I saw a black jeep with huge men inside it. One of them was in a DHL uniform. Immediately, they approached me, they started beating me. They said I should enter inside. They said I was a thief, an armed robber. The one in the DHL uniform removed it. My HM (Headmistress) was peeping at us. I said let me go and tell her. They said no.”she said
The petitioner said she informed them that she had a five-year-old son at the school, but they didn’t care.
” I said my kid is there, they said no, that I should follow them, that my kid would die there. My HM came to the gate; they pointed a gun at me. She asked what was going on. They said ‘This woman is a thief, a kidnapper. She must follow us and go. They said they were Police, SARS.”
They pushed me inside the car and moved. The men were slapping, beating me. I was two months pregnant. I started vomiting. That’s when they found out I was pregnant. But they kept torturing me. I told them I did not know the suspect.
They took me to their office at Ikeja. They took me to a shrine. They hanged me, beat me. They said they would force my baby out of me. They said I must produce the person or die there,” Mrs Obiechina said.
She said her husband had been searching for her at different Police stations in Lagos. When he eventually found her, he was also arrested and tortured.
Ndubuisi accused men of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of stealing her husband’s N50,000 and compelling them to pay N400,000 as bail before they were freed.
She told the panel that they sued the Police at the Federal High Court in Lagos and won the case as the judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, ordered the Police to pay them N2million as compensation. She said they also won on appeal but the Police refused to comply with the judge’s instruction of paying them N2 million in damages.
Ndubuisi identified some of the accused SARS officers as “Phillip Rilwan, Christian and Haruna Idowu”.
The chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi, adjourned sitting to enable the mentioned operatives an opportunity to appear and respond to the allegations.
Police re-arrest four prisoners who escaped from Edo prison
Four prisoners who escaped from Oko Prison during the #EndSARS crisis have been re-arrested by the police.
The suspects were paraded at the Nigeria Police Force tactical unit in Abuja, alongside others who were arrested for various offences bordering on armed robbery, car theft, unlawful possession of weapons, illegal dealing and selling of weapons.
The prisoners who escaped from the facility have been identified as Adebayo Opeyemi, Oloride Benjamin, Peter Osas, Hudu Musa and Frank Odion.
While Mr Opeyemi is a dismissed soldier, Mr Benjamin was convicted and sentenced to death and Mr Musa had nine months remaining to serve out his prison term.
It was gathered that the suspects have snatched a total of four vehicles since their escape. Mr Benjamin on the other hand, snatched a vehicle 30mins after he escaped because he needed to leave Benin City.
Northern Governors are not against disbandment of SARS – Governor Lalong
Governor Simon Lalong has made a clarification on the stance of Northern Governors on the disbandment of controversial police unit, Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Lalong who is the chairman of Northern Governors Forum on Wednesday November 18, said they are not against the scrapping of SARS contrary to some misconceptions in some quarters.
“The Northern Governors Forum is not against the disbandment of SARS as misconstrued in some quarters. We rather caution against the blanket condemnation of the police that can erode the confidence and zeal of the hardworking and honest ones in performing their duties of protecting lives and properties.”
Reiterating the region’s commitment in tackling the several challenges facing the region, Lalong said the forum will collaborate with Federal Government and security agencies to address the issues of banditry, terrorism, kidnapping, and other criminal activities.
“We must tackle the current challenges of insecurity in the region which is dominated by insurgency, kidnapping, banditry, rape, child abuse and trafficking and other conflicts.
“We shall continue to work with the Federal Government and security agencies to tackle crime and criminality. That is why we have supported a comprehensive reform of police architecture in the country.”
CNN releases findings from its independent investigation on Lekki shooting; shares videos of what appears to be soldiers shooting directly at the crowd
CNN has released its findings from an independent investigation carried out on the October 20 shooting incident at the Lekki tollgate.
CNN shared footage of what appears to be soldiers shooting at the #EndSARS protesters who had gathered at the tollgate to press home their demands to end SARS as well as end police brutality.
CNN in its investigation spoke with a man, Elisha Sunday, whose brother, Victor, was killed during the October 20th shooting incident.
The media house also spoke with some of the protesters who were at the scene when the shooting occurred. They claim the soldiers indeed fired shots at them.
The media house also tracked the bullets shells seen at the Toll Gate and the companies that supplied the Nigerian Army Weapons since 2005
Recall Nigeria drew global attention when military men stormed the Lekki toll plaza where #EndSARS protesters gathered and fired gunshots.
Shortly after the incident, Governor Sanwo-Olu in a press conference stated that no sitting governor controls the rules of engagement of the military. On October 26, the governor granted an interview to CNN where he stated that only two deaths were recorded from the incident. He added that he visited the scene the next day and couldn’t find bloodstains.
On the day of the incident, the Nigerian Army took to its Twitter handle to deny claims its personnel was at the scene of the incident.
On October 27, the Army broke its silence and alleged that the Lagos state governor invited them to help quell the violence that erupted after the protest was hijacked by hoodlums. Read here.
Watch the video from CNN’s independent investigation below