By Onozure Dania, Lagos
A 34-year-old businessman, Mr Ndukwe Ekekwe who claimed that he became paralysed when operatives of the disbanded Special Ant- Robbery Squad, SARS threw him down from a two-storey building, yesterday identified the Investigative Police Officer, IPO who handled his case.
While being cross-examined over his previous testimony before the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution for SARS victims, Ekekwe tendered the contact details and photographs of the IPO whom he simply identified as Hamza.
Ekekwe said he got the IPO’s photograph through his WhatsApp status which he snapped and reproduced with the help of his mother.
When questioned by Police counsel, Emmanuel Eze about the authenticity of the person in the picture, Ekekwe affirmed that Hamza was the man that took him to SARS office in Ikeja.
” This is the policeman that came to carry me. There is nothing that will make me forget,” he said.
When informed by the police counsel that the photograph in question was not taken on the day of his arrest, he said ” When I was handcuffed, how will I be able to snap him?
Describing the scenario during his arrest, Ekekwe said, “I requested for their (SARS) operative’s identification card but instead they brought out tear gas and gun. When people started asking who they were, they said they had orders from above to arrest me. They never told me my offence till today.
“I have four shops and I sell phone accessories. When I see anything and I show the sample to my customers, if they are interested, I will buy it and sell to them”.
” When I brought out my phone to make a call to my mother, the police quickly collected the phone from me.”
Asked to describe the police station he was taken to, he said ” I know the station they took me to, It is Ikeja, I don’t know how to describe it but if they take me there, I will be able to identify the police station.
” They brought me out at 12noon and broke my teeth during torture, I can only recognise the two people that came to arrest me. At the station, other policemen joined in torturing me.
” They did not take me to the hospital after the torture. I only spent two days in their custody. I was arrested around 2 pm and by 8 pm, they took me to my shop. On getting there, more than 20 people were already on queue in front of my shop, they started carrying all my goods.
“As I was shouting to see if people could come to my rescue, the commander asked them to keep me busy so two of them took me away from my shop upstairs and one of them pushed me down. In the process, I fell from the stairs.”
The petitioner, however, said he doesn’t know who pushed him down as he was handcuffed and there was no light.
The matter has been adjourned till December 1, 2020, for the continuation of cross-examination.