By Victor Akinkuolie, & Fisayo Akinduro
Victim, family and an hotelier have testified before the ongoing panel of Inquiry sitting in Ekiti and Osun states set up to look into the allegation of police brutality and extra judicial killings.
A middle-aged man, Ayetomiwa Elegbeleye, who appeared before the Ekiti State Judicial Panel of Inquiry narrated his ordeals in the hands of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
He said he was hanged on the roof and tortured with hot pressing iron after he refused to pay N500.000 for bail.
The 30-year-old man who appeared before the Ekiti Panel of Inquiry lamented that he was unlawfully arrested in his in Ikere-Ekiti.
He said he was in his house at about 11:45pm and far asleep when eight SARS operatives suddenly knocked his door and whisked him away to their office in Ado-Ekiti.
Elegbeleye, a bricklayer, suddenly broke into tears and said he was hanged and tortured repeatedly by the officials of the SARS.
According to him, he said was tortured for twenty-three days over his failure to offer N500,000 requested for him to be released.
The victim who was accompanied to the panel by the Correctional Centre showed members of the panel the bodily injuries he sustained from the hot pressing iron when he was in their custody.
“They forced me to confess being an armed robber. I was hanged with a rod. I gasped for breath begging them to release me but they said I will only be released with payment of N500,000.
“After 23days in their custody and with serious bodily injuries, they took me to the police hospital in Oke-Isa, when they discovered that I might die due to my worse health condition.”
Elegbeleye who maintained that he was never involved in any criminal activity, pleaded with the panel to investigate his case with a bid of releasing him from the prison.
However, counsel to the complainant, Layi Obisesan told the panel that his client was before the panel to seek justice over the brutality he suffered in the hands of the SARS operatives.
Chairman of the panel, Justice Cornelius Akintayo (retd) adjourned matter to December 3 for continuation of hearing, calling on the parties to present their witnesses on the adjournment date.
Also, a 17-year-old girl, Rachael Abioye was said to have been hit by a stray bullet the same day some security personnel allegedly chased a 20-year-old man to death in Osun.
The victim’s aunt, Mrs Abosede Ibikunle told Osun State Panel of Inquiry, that a uniformed mobile police officer shot Abioye in the arm in front of their canteen.
Mrs Ibikunle narrated that, on September 15, 2020, there was an attack on some boys by the officers of the defunct SARS department of the Nigeria Police Force which led to the death of one of the boys as a result of the hot pursue on the express road.
According to her, in the evening of that same day, she and her niece, together with other workers were in the food canteen, when suddenly they heard a gunshot from a Supermarket area which prompted her and other people around including her niece to pack things in the canteen.
While other people and I were hurrying up to lock up the food canteen, some unknown men were chasing a Mopol officer carrying a gun towards the food canteen and the Mopol officer ran to the front of the food canteen and fired the gun in his hands. And it was also witnessed by one Mrs Folasade Alonge who has a shop beside the food canteen.
“Immediately, I heard my niece shouting that she had been hit by the bullet. And when I came near her, she was on the floor in a pool of her own blood.
“We rushed Rachael to the nearest hospital at Emmanuel Medical Centre, Capital Area, Osogbo, Osun State where she was attended to and operated upon by the Medical Doctors available.
“I made a report at Dada Estate Police Station where my statement was taken and the D.P.O referred me to the Osun State Police Command. I was later directed back to the Dada Estate Police Station for investigation.
“Police promised to get back to me on this matter but nothing has been heard from them till now. I have spent a lot on her medical bills as several surgeries were carried out on Rachael by two Medical Surgeons at separate times. Rachael was writing her examinations around that period, and she had to go in pains and bandages to the examination hall.
She urged the panel to investigate the matter and ensure that Rachael does not suffer the incident in vain.
Mrs Ibikunle, however, requested that the medical bills expended on Rachael’s treatment be refunded and that adequate compensation be paid to Rachael.
In the same vein, an hotelier in Osun State, Dauda Adigun on Saturday told the Osun State Panel of Inquiry how some officers of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, killed a 40-year-old butcher, Ismail Rasheed in his hotel.
Adigun told the panel during the sitting that the SARS officers identified as “Odua” “Are” shot the butcher, who was a father of five at, Ile Labo Sinmi Oko guest house along Iwo/Ibadan Expressway, Iwo in Osun State.
The Hope Metro gathered that the SARS officers in the Guest House, shot dead the deceased, Ismaila, in cold blood and carted away a sum of N4 million meant for the purchase of rams.
It was gathered that the deceased Ismaila left Ore, Ondo State, on July 17, 2020, on a mission to buy rams for Eid Fitri Celebrations.
“Ismail lodged at the guest house about 9:30 p.m. with the intention of passing night in the hotel till the following day when he would embark on a journey to the northern part of Nigeria to buy rams in large quantity for his customers.
The petitioner said the manager of his hotel, Afeez Tella, left the Guest House, at about midnight on account of having malaria and about 12:30 midnight after he had left, another young staff, Afeez, called him that the deceased Ismaila Rasheed wanted to change his room from room G and the manager obliged him through the young staff, Afeez.
“At about 3:30 A.M, one of the officers of the SARS in the Guest House, called the manager, Afeez Tella Adio, that they had shot dead one of the thieves that invaded the Guest house.
“In order to beef up security along Iwo/Ibadan Expressway, two Police Officers, from Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) had been accommodated in the Guest House by the owner, Alhaji Ayo Dauda Adigun, on the consent of the Divisional Police Officer, DPO.
The two officers, “Odua” and “Are” had stayed in the Guest House for about seven months free-of-charge.