December 3, 2020

NHRC probe panel summons Ex-Zamfara Gov over allegations of torture, detention


By Tordue Salem, Abuja

The Independent Investigative Panel on human rights violation by defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other units of the Nigerian Police on Wednesday ordered the former governor of Zamfara state, Sen. Ahmad Sani Yerima to appear before it over allegations of torture and detention of a Katsina State businessman, Alhaji Musa Wapa over alleged theft of N23million.

The senator is expected to appear before the unit on January 12, 2021.

The panel said that “the name of the Senator was severally mentioned in Alh. Wapa’s complaint before it, hence the application by Alhaji Wapa on the need for the Senator to join him as a necessary party is hereby”granted as prayed”.

The complainant, according to the unit, “testified former governor of Zamfara state, Sen. Ahmad Sani Yerima used the IGP- Intelligence Response Team to deny him the payment of N25 million for three trailers of maize he supplied to his farm, Rufai Poultry (Nig.) ltd”.

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According to a statement by the Assistant Director of Information at the Agency, Mrs Fatimah Agwai, “during his examination before the 11-Man panel chaired by Justice Suleiman Galadima (rtd), the complainant, Alh. Musa Wapa informed the panel that Sen. Yerima has been his business partner whom he (Wapa) owed the sum of N25m even as he admitted that he (Wapa) also owe the Senator N23m. Continuing, he quickly added that while Sen.Yerima’s debt was due for payment, the obligation to pay his own debt is not yet due as at June 30th, 2020 when the Senator allegedly paid N3m to the Police team comprising of Abdullahi and Zakariyya of Area Command Kano state and IGP-IRT Panteka, Kaduna state to torture and detain him for six days.

“He told the panel that on June 30, 2020, at about 6 pm a Police vehicle suddenly stopped where he was repairing his tractor and started beating him in front of other people and later seized some of his vehicles.

The complainant also narrated how the Police Officers handcuffed him, while one of them unleashed different forms of torture to dehumanise him”.

Led in his examination by NHRC’s Counsel to the panel, Afolabi Olawale Esq., the merchant stated that “the said Police Officers did not spare his driver who he noted was arrested, put inside Police bus and was driven together with him from Katsina to Kano and later to Kaduna on different days”.

According to Alhaji Wapa, “the Police Officers gave them beatings while they were inside the bus and that his own personal car which they Police collected from him was also driven by one of the Officers to Kano state”.

He said that his First Bank account has been frozen as a result of his issue with Sen. Yerima and the Police.

Besides, he told the panel that “Sen. Yerima tricked him to deposit his Certificate of Occupancy in Jaiz bank under the pretext that his money will be paid, “and nothing came out of it”.

Asked what he wants the panel to do for him, “ he pleaded with the panel for N100m compensation, for the alleged violations and tarnishing of his image, saying the Police made him appear as a terrorist”.

Besides, he prayed the panel to ensure that justice is served in the matter.

In his. cross-examination, according to Mrs Agwai, “counsel to the Nigerian Police, Mr James Idachaba (DCP), told the panel that the Alhaji Wapa’s arrest was a sequel to a court order, which the Wapa said he was not aware of”.

The matter was adjourned to January 12, 2021, for the continuation of hearing.

Vanguard News Nigeria