A lawyer, Joseph Arikpo, on Tuesday told the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)panel that he was beaten, stripped to his underwear, and tear-gassed when he insisted to see his client in a police cell.
The NHRC panel is investigating alleged violations of rights by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other units of the police.
Arikpo, filed a petition before the panel against SP Solomon Danja, DPO Ikom, Cross River, Commissioner of Police, Cross River, and Inspector-General of Police for alleged unlawful arrest and detention among others.
He told the panel that on Nov. 8, 2020, a friend called him to see to help him locate and facilitate his son-in-law’s release from police custody.
“I went the police station and met an officer on duty and I was told that only the DPO can handle such matter.
“I waited for the DPO to arrive. I met him and he told me that he has been trying to call my friend to see how they can settle the matter.
“I asked why the police detained him for six days and refused to allow his people to see him.
“The DPO looked at me and said I was stupid,” he said.
He said he told the DPO not to insult him.
“He punched me three times and called me stupid again.
“I was dragged, tear-gassed, and locked up for two hours before an officer came to take my statement.
“As my statement was being recorded, the DPO came in with some strange-looking men with batons and cow whip and ordered that I should be restrained.
“I was beaten again,” he said.
When asked by counsel for the police, James Idachaba, if he approached a court for enforcement of his rights, he said no.
After listening to the testimony, a member of the panel, Garba Tentegi SAN, who presided over proceedings in the absence of the chairman, rtd Justice Suleiman Galadima, adjourned the matter until April 15 for defence.
In addition, Tentegi ordered the Inspector-General of Police to ensure that the Danja appears before the panel by the adjourned date.