By Shola Akingboye, 23rd March 2021
Another victim of Police brutality has cried out before the Independent Investigative Panel on allegations of human rights violations by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other units of the Nigerian Police on Monday in Abuja, over how the police dehumanized and shot him close to his genitals.
Testifying, the petitioner, Joseph Martins told the Abuja panel that on the 19th October 2019, he was at a viewing center when he observed that Sgt Oludare, who was in police uniform and armed with AK47 had an argument with the sales attendant over a bill presented to him which he did not want to pay for.
Continuing in his narration, Joseph in crutches told Dr Garba Tetengi chaired panel how he tried to mediate, but the angered Sgt Oludare Ariyo of Special Protection Unit Base 7 Command, FCT, rained slap and kicked him to the ground, spat on him for attempting to wade into the altercation.
According to Joseph, Sgt Oludare not satisfied with the beating threatened to shoot him and said he would not mind losing his uniform, cocked his gun, shot him at close range on his thighs close to his genitals.
He said the bullet broke and shattered the bone in his thigh.
Joseph stated that concerned people around eventually overpowered Sgt Oludare and disarmed him, after which they called the Divisional Police Officer in Utako, who came and took Sgt Oludare with his rifle and he (Joseph) was subsequently rushed to the hospital.
Emotional-laden, Joseph recounted how he was rushed to the Accident & Emergency Ward of Wuse General Hospital where he was dumped by some policemen and no one attended to him because he could not pay the treatment deposit.
He was subsequently taken to National Hospital where he could probably get treatment but the hospital was said to be on strike. He was then moved to Cidecrest Orthopedic Hospital in Garki where they also demanded a deposit for the surgery, so as to extract the bullet from his thighs.
The victim added that his inability to pay for the treatment at Cidecrest resulted in him being finally moved to Nigerian Air force hospital, where he eventually got treatment after 23 days of being shot, he alleged.
While displayed a film of the x-ray conducted on his thigh before the panel, he lamented that he needs N800, 000 to fix his thigh because the bones were shattered as he broke down in tears. He laments how unbearable life has become, he can no longer fend for himself and his family.
Reacting, the counsel to the police, James Idachaba informed the panel that the case has already been decided at the FCT High Court and judgment has already been served.
Meanwhile the Counsel to the petitioner, Tolu Babaleye countered Idachaba; he decried the judgment given to the erring Sgt Oludare. He disclosed to the panel that though the Sergeant was dismissed after he was arraigned at a Magistrate court for assault rather than the attempted murder which landed the police only one year imprisonment, hence his dissatisfaction over the judgment he referred as “injustice”.
At the Federal High Court, a case of fundamental rights enforcement action was filed and the judgment was delivered in the sum of N50,000,000.
The panel in its ruling adjourned indefinitely.