By Shola Akingboye, 25th March 2021
As earlier reported by RegentAfrica Times, the story of Timothy Ogbeye, a car dealer who was tortured to the point of death by men of SARS; on Wednesday continued his testimony before the Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights Violations by the defunct Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS) and other units of the Nigerian Police as he further narrated how police men in Awkuzu SARS dehumanised him, made him mimic the sound of animals and their behaviours.
It would be recalled at the first hearing of the case, the complainant fainted while he was narrating his experience.
under cross examination and could not continued before the panel requested for an ambulance that conveyed the victim to Maitama hospital.
In continuation on Wednesday, Timothy Ogbeye, a business man who sells cars and buys stone granite from Julius Berger, told the panel that the police unlawfully detained him for four months making him to bark like a dog, crawl like a snake, lick the bare floor of his cell with his tongue and simulate the act of sexual intercourse with his wife by himself alone on the floor to the point of discharging blood from his private part “instead of semen”
Recounted his experience in Awkuzu SARS station, he said he was detained in cell 4, with no window, water and toilet alongside other inmates.
According to him, he was hanged upside down from the ceiling, with blood dripping from his nose. He said he was beaten with iron and with 2 by 2 wood.
While passed through the hell of torture, one Andrew James of the SARS continue to demand N5m from him if he wants his peace.
Testifying before the Justice Suleiman Galadima (rtd) led panel, Timothy Ogbeye said on the 22nd January, 2020, one Andrew James of defunct SARS led eight policemen to his car stand in Mpape and met with his sales attendant on the pretext they were there to buy car , they identified him, brought out their guns and started beating him and thereafter, arrested him on the allegation that he bought a stolen Toyota Corolla car from one Micheal Obinna, which later turns falsehood.
Continuing his narration, he said he was moved to Kwali Police Station, where he met Micheal Obinna and thereafter they were taken to Awkuzu SARS office in Anambra.
He noted that despite telling Andrew James, the leader of the team his innocence, that he was not aware of any stolen car, he kept on torturing him.
Timothy Ogbeye alleged that he pleaded with his IPO, Insp. Oriyomi Aregbelo and Andrew James to charge him to court if he has committed any offence but they refused. They also denied his family access to see him.
He further noted that his lawyer, Olochukwu Udemezue, instituted an action at the High Court of Anambra State for his release and the court granted an order to that effect.
According to Timothy, despite the court order, the police refuse to release him, which prompted his lawyer to write to the Commissioner of Police Anambra, who ordered the ‘X’ squad team to investigate the allegations against him.
After the investigations, he was found innocent and he was immediately released after spending four months in unlawful detention and dehumanised condition.
He ended his testimony by saying in an emotional laden voice “ my lord, I see pepper for that place” he further said his hands are partially stiff due to the torture.
The Police counsel, Monday Jonathan tried to digress by insinuating that Timothy Ogbeye bought a stolen accidented vehicle from Obinna Micheal, a notorious armed robber.
The panel called the counsel to order by reminding him that “we are not here for theft matters, rather we are on a fact finding task to determine the human rights violations and brutalities police have committed in the course of their work”.
The matter was further adjourned to 3rd May, 2021 for the appearances of police respondents and witnesses of the complainants.