The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the police to produce a suspect, Biodun Olaroye, who had allegedly been held by the Special Anti-Robbery Square (SARS) since 2017.
The NHRC Panel on the investigation of activities of SARS, now sitting in Abuja, particularly directed Olaroye to be produced before it today, Monday, January 21, by the police.
The panel also demanded the case file from the police, as well as the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) in the Olaroye case.
The suspect, 39-year old father of one, was arrested by SARS operatives when he visited his aunt in Ikorodu, Lagos in May 2017.
Head of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Abba Kyariwas also directed to appear before it today.
The suspect’s senior brother, Olatunde Olaroye, had presented his case before the panel last week.
He said that he and some member of the family last saw Biodun in SARS’ detention facility in Ikeja , Lagos, sometime in August in 2018, and have not heard anything again from him till date.
Olatunde said: “Biodun Bode Olaroye was arrested by operatives of IRT/SARS in Ikorodu, Lagos between 11th and 13th of May, 2017 at the residence of our maternal sister, where he went to collect transport money to return to Abuja to continue with the screening exercise of Peace Corps recruitment which was eventually disbanded.
“The family traced Biodun to the Police Headquarters cell in Ikeia, Lagos. He was brought out for identification.
“After identification, the officer in charge lRT Unit, Supol Philip refused family access to Biodun, including any legal intervention.
“He said they have the legal right to investigate him (the suspect) for three months and 2 weeks before we can engage legal services to hear from Biodun. We waited patiently.
“All the while in Police custody, Biodun was subjected to grave torture and agony with claim he was being interrogated, some we learnt died in that process.
“So we mounted pressure to know the IPO in charge of his case but were threatened not to come near not to come near the station any further.
“In all, Biodun was held in custody for approximately 4 months after which we were informed, Biodun and others were to be paraded to the IGP as criminals in custody
“Sir, as we write and speak now, after Biodun was moved out of SARS, (IRT) cell in Lagos, the officers in charge which include both DCP Abba Kyari, who is the 0C, SARS/IRT Unit, Abuja and Supol Philip, Officer in charge, Lagos SARS [IRT) refused to disclose the whereabouts of Biodun Bode Olaroye.
“This is 18 months of his incarceration and yet, they refused to tell us where he is kept and there is no news about B iodun.
“We have gone round several prisons across the federation and visited Federal SARS’ cell and the Force CID office cell with no trace of him.
“He is married with a son under 3 years now. We don’t know if Biodun has been executed by Supol Philip at the command of DCP Abba Kyari,” Olatunde said.
The Chairman, NHRC panel on SARS, Tony Ojukwu (who is also the Executive Secretary of NHRC) said the directives given to the police on the case was to ensure the truth about the whereabouts of the suspect is ascertained.
Speaking on Monday at the opening session of the panel’s Abuja second sitting session, Ojukwu said the panel has, since its constitution last October, it “has held four pubic sittings, where complaints of alleged human rights violations from the public and memoranda on how to reform SARS were considered.
“The sittings were conducted in the following geo-political zones of Nigeria: The first public sitting was heId in Abuja from 22nd to 25th October, 2018 for the North Central Zone; the second public sitting was held in Lagos from 13th to 17th November, 2018 for South West Zone; the third public sitting was held in Owerri, Imo State from 27th November to 13th December, 2018 for both South-East and South-South zones; and the fourth sitting was held in Gombe from the 5th to 6th of December, 2018 for North-East Zone.
“Since the constitution of the panel, a total of 103 complaints of alleged human rights violation were received by the secretariat of the panel.
“Out of this number, the panel received 37 complaints from the North-Centrai zone, 37 complaints from the South-West, 16 complaints from the South-South, 9 complaints from the South-East, 3 complaints from the North-East and 1 complaint from the North-West.
“The Panel has concluded hearing on 51 of the complaints, while 52 complaints are still pending.
“Out of the 52 pending cases, 29 are part-heard, while 23 are fresh complaints. Accordingly, most of the pending complaints are at advanced stages of hearing.
“This sitting will be considering 52 pending cases made up of fresh complaints and part-heard complaints from Abuja and different parts of the country,” Ojukwu said.