November 19, 2020

#EndSARS: How Police arrested two brothers, 25 cows, lawyers tells Abuja panel

Lekki Tollgate incident was a massacre — Lagos ENDSARS Panel

A file image of the #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Tollgate, before the gunfire.

A file image of the #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Tollgate, before the gunfire.

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

A Laywer, Mr. Timothy Ahua, on Thursday, narrated before the Independent Investigative Panel on human rights violations by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, sitting in Abuja, how police arrested two brothers and their 25 cows, in 2019.

Ahua, told the Justice Suleiman Galadima-led panel that since the two brothers, Matthew and Patrick Ella were arrested and whisked away by operatives of the disbanded SARS, on December 20, 2019, their whereabouts have remained unknown.

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According to the lawyer who lodged a petition on their behalf, the brothers were taken from Edumega District,  Okpokwu Local Government Area of Benue by some SARS operatives that stormed the community.

He said the operatives took time and loaded the 25 cows that belonged to Mathew inside a truck, in an operation that lasted through the night.

The legal practitioner told the panel that all his efforts and those of his clients’ relatives, to persuade police to either release or charge them to court, had since been ignored.

Ahua said the police refused to produce them in court even when he filed a fundamental rights enforcement suit and the court ordered their production.

He said: “Some officers of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Intelligent Response Team  (IRT) from Abuja stormed the victims’ village.

“They shot his brother, Patrick on the leg and took him to unknown destination. They also made away with 25 cows belonging to Matthew Ella”.

When asked about his clients’ current location, Ahua said they were still being held by the police.

Ahua named some police personnel – Inspector Waziri Mustapha,  Alhassan Emmanuel and one Inspector Glory – who he claimed are familiar with the case.

Meanwhile, when Chairman of the panel, Justice Suleiman inquired from counsel to the Police, Mr. Godwin Ijioma, if he knew the whereabouts of the complainants, he pleaded for time to enable him to make the necessary inquiry.

Consequently, the panel directed the legal team representing police to get full details of all the officers that were mentioned in the petition, even as it adjourned the matter till December 2.

It ordered that the officers must be produced on the next adjourned date.

Besides, the panel, also ordered its team of lawyers led by Mr. Chino Obiagwu, SAN, to collaborate with Ahua and the police to ensure that the Complainants are also produced on the next date.