By Shola Akingboye, 23rd February, 2021
Timothy Ogbeye could hardly stand on his leg before he collapsed at the Monday’s hearing of the Independent Investigative Panel on SARS, and other units of Police Force sitting in Abuja, due to terminal injuries he sustained in the hands of men of the defunct SARS over a frivolous allegation of car theft, and thereby demands the sum of ten million naira as compensation from the Police.
In his petition bothering on allege unlawful arrest, detention, threat to life, assault, torture, inhuman, and degrading treatment as submitted before the eleven man Abuja panel; Timothy Ogbeye, a businessman that specializes on car sales as a dealer and gravel merchant told the panel how on 22nd Day of January 2020, he went for his gravel business, but later informed through a phone call he has customers waiting for a car purchase at his Abuja automobile sales outlet, unknown to him he was being ambushed.
On arrival, few men in mufti descended on Timothy, he was arrested along with his junior brother by the people he later realized are men of SARS.
At the SARS facility in Abuja, both men received series of dehumanized torture that left Timothy Ogbeye psychologically derailed and forgot his birthday.
According to the complainant, at one of the detention facility, Timothy later met another accused person in detention, who he said earlier sold the vehicle in question to him but with original and certified documentation. The latter told Timothy the matter was all about the car he sold to him with genuine clearance and documents.
The petitioner revealed he has never engaged in any shady car deal over the years, all custom papers are always intact. Neither had issue with authority in his years of clean businesses in search of daily bread for his family.
“They later moved me to Anambra. There, I was mercilessly tortured, dehumanized, molested to the point I could not stand on my feet again”
“For thirty-five minutes, I was tortured, beaten, including my brother”
“Then, they told me that I should just give them N5Million if I want my bail, which I could not produce”
“They now took me to another facility, where they further tortured me very well”
“Then they said I should start naming the names of all animals in Nigeria, I started naming names. The moment I mentioned snail, I was asked to walk with my tongue like a snail.”
“The moment I mentioned dog, they asked me to back like a dog”
“They asked me the name of my wife is, I told them. They said ok, I should start making love to the ground the way I do it with my wife and produce semen. Before I know it blood started coming out of my private part, I fainted.”
The victim therefore demanded to be taken to court with the so called armed robbery allegation, they refused.
“I later told them to take me to court though I am guilty of the crime or not, this people refused to take me to court”
“Later my lawyer came and insist they must take me to court, he got an order from High Court that they should take me to court, they refused.” He stressed.
Timothy further revealed that it was after about three months of tortuous detention and series of efforts by his family members and people that matters, including interventions by Police hierarchies across Lagos, Abuja and Anambra before he was released after four months.
He added that the SARS operatives later called him on phone to apologize to him, when the matter gets out of their hands.
In his efforts to further clear his name, the complainant narrated how he later met with a DIG of Police in Abuja with all the documents pertaining to the vehicle for which he was arrested, and how the officers in Abuja perused the authorization and satisfied that all documents are genuinely processed and unblemished.
Timothy added that the police officers at the top later apologized to him that he should just forgive them.
“Till now, I am just from the General Hospital, Maitama. I was directed for terminal diagnosis. In fact, I have been sick seriously, ” He added.
Just before Timothy ended his testimonies, it was Justice Garba SAN’s who represents the chairman of the panel that was quick to notice that the complainant was already collapsing right at the hearing and call for emergency. The panel directed the victim to be rushed to the hospital immediately.
Just before he collapsed, the panel asked if he knew anyone that could be his witnessed on the series of tortured he was subjected. He confirmed that one of his brother arrested along with him is at the panel among others.
On his prayers before the panel, he demanded for the sum of N10Million naira as damage for unlawful arrest, dehumanization and tortured that has since left him in limbo-health wise.
Matter adjourned to the 21 of March 2021 on the quest for more invitations of the SARS personnel involved and further cross-examination of the petitioner by counsel to the Police Force.