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I was tortured 35 days, tied upside down, flogged with stick, big stone tied on my chest, complainant to IIP on SARS

By National Human Rights Commission

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Proceedings of the Independent Investigative Panel on alleged SARS brutality resumed by 10:17am today.

IIP ON SARS: Complainant Francis Ogbaji on alleged arbitrary detention, torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by Special Anti-Robbery Squad FCT, A.CP Mantu State CID FCT,

DPO Central police Station, Federal Secretariat, Abuja, Commissioner of Police FCT Command, and Inspector General of Police

PETITIONER’S TESTIMONY

I work at Bayelsa State guest house in Abuja as a security officer. On 11th April 2020, while working along with my other colleagues, our CSO called us that he noticed a plasma TV and a fridge was missing. So we went and confirmed they were missing.

I told them I don’t know anything about the missing items. The case was reported to the police and we were taken to Central Police Station and detained. I wrote my statement and signed. We were there and later transferred to Garki police station.

On the 28th of April 2020 we were transferred to SARS office. They interrogated us and I told them I know nothing about the missing items. They tortured me and beat me with a stick and I was bleeding.

The later took me to a tree and tied me upside down, they were flogging me with a stick. I was signing and the police man came and placed a big stone on my chest and tied my mouth. Latter they took me back to the cell and I was detained for 35 days and tortured severely.

Police Counsel says, the second respondent is currently on transfer to Benue State while the 3rd respondent is no longer at the central police station, he is now at Bauchi state. So they are not present at the Panel

Cross Examination by Counsel to Respondents:

Were you employed by a security company,

Petitioner: No it was a direct employment with the guest house

Prior to this, have you worked in any security outfit before?

Petitioner: Yes

Have you undergone any form of security training before?

Petitioner: Yes

Were you tortured at central police station?

Petitioner: No

Can you remember the name of your IPO at SARS?

Petitioner: one PG, and Douglass

Who were those present when you were being tortured at SARS?

Petitioner: My colleagues and Mr PG and Douglass

Testimony By Witness: Ibu Peter Ogar

I am a Para power lifter and Francis is my brother. On 11th April 2020 at about 8pm my brother called me using one of the Police officers number and told me he was at Central Police station.

He told me they were accused of stealing some items at his place of work. I went there and meet the DPO and introduced myself to him, the DPO mentioned the items that were missing and I told the DPO that Francis is my brother I have not known him to be a thief

The DPO set a bail condition for his release, so I rallied around to meet the condition. After meeting the bail conditions, to my surprise I discovered he was transferred to State CID. So I went to State CID and meet with the IPO

The IPO told me the case is still under investigation and I was given a bail condition which I also met. After I met the condition, my brother was still not released so I called a Barrister to intervene. Despite this, he wasn’t released.

When I went to SARS office I saw blood on his body, on his 2 ankles and allover his legs. I asked him what happened and he told me there is a man called Biggy who tortured him, tied him upside down and flogged him with 2 by 2 wood.

Witness said after his brother was released, he did not take is brother to the hospital but he went to the pharmacy to get drugs. He also gave the Panel a list of the bail conditions he had to meet within the time of the incident.

Counsel to respondents request for an adjournment to enable him identify the officers of the defunct SARS who were mentioned in the testimony.

The Panel ordered Counsel to bring the IPO who handle the case at SARS office before the Panel

The case has been adjourned to 15th March 2021 for opening of defense and for the officers mentioned to appear before the Panel.


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