…As Tempers, nerves fray at Edo Panel over medical report of petitioner
By Gabriel Enogholase
EDO State Judicial Panel of Inquiry for victims of SARS and Related Abuses, has summoned two Chief Superintendents of Police, Messers Tope both of Ogida Division, Benin City, to appear before it on 17, December 2020 to explain their roles in the alleged assault and extortion of one Mrs. Patience Okundaye, aged, 61.
Mrs. Okundaye told the panel that some group of persons foiled an attempted attack on her son and added that one of the hoodlums was apprehended and handed over to the police.
She added that due to the negligence of the police, the suspect escaped with handcuffs while still in their custody.
She said, “On the 5 January 2019, some group of boys wanted to attack my son, but with the help of some youths in the area, they apprehended one of them and took him to the police station.
“But later, the police complained that the boy they arrested and brought before them has an injury.
“So, the police took the boy to the Police Health Centre with handcuffs on his hands but less than 45 minutes, they called my son to say that the boy on handcuffs had escaped.
“Then the police invited us to come to the station and on getting there, we found out that the boy has actually escaped.
“So, I wrote to the DPO complaining to him that since the suspect has escaped, our lives were no longer safe.
“From there, we went to the State Headquarters and where I narrated my story, the Commissioner of Police then ordered that the Anti-cultist unit of the command to come and watch over my house until the police were able to fish out the criminal.
“They only came to watch over my house on the 5 of February. On the 6 of March, my daughter celebrated her marriage on 1, 2 of March, on the 6. But in the afternoon, police came to my house, burst my gate, turned my house upside down and all the boys that were present were arrested.
“The further told me that my children were criminals and I told them that my children were not criminals”.
Mrs Okundaye who brought a plasma TV set to the panel to play the recorded video of how the disbanded SARS raided her house and assaulted her, said they constantly turned her into an Automated Teller Machine.
“They dragged me to the police station with only wrappers and singlets on my body, loaded my vehicle with the drinks we were to use on Sunday and went away with them.
“To cut the story short, my son spent N600,000 to bail all those who were arrested in my compound. He also paid N200,000 to bail me and my last born.
“Others spent close to a week in the cell before they were bailed”, she told the panel.
She pleaded with the panel to invite the said police officers and recommend adequate sanction for them.
“What I want from this panel is that the policemen who were involved in this act should be summoned to appear before this panel and they should be prosecuted”, she said.
The chairman of the panel, Justice Ada Ehigiamusoe, however, ordered that the said officers should appear before the panel on 17 December 2020.
“Certain police officers were referred in the body of the petition.
“The Police Officers are one DPO, Ogida barracks division by name, CSP Tope and there is also, the OC Anti-Kidnapping and Cultism, CSP Balogun. These officers are ordered to appear before this panel on the 17 December 2020”, Justice Ehigiamusoe said.
In a related development, a heated argument ensued between the Counsel to the Nigerian Police, C. S. O. Nwandi Esq and a member of the panel over the authenticity of a medical report presented by a petitioner, Mr Abebe Emmanuel before the panel.
Abebe, 41, was allegedly shot on his leg in 2011by the disbanded SARS who invaded his compound.
The argument which almost turned violent occurred when the police counsel tried to question the personality and the authority of the signature that appeared on the medical report presented by Mr. Abebe.
In his reply, Dr. Usiosefe Anthony Ereyimwan, member of the panel, said the police counsel has no moral rectitude to do that because the name of the hospital and the medical doctor who signed the document is a man of high reputation.
It, however, took the intervention the chairman of the panel Justice Ehigiamusoe to calm the frayed nerves by adjourning the matter to another date.