By Shola Akingboye, 24th, February 2021
Tony Duchi, on behalf of other eight complainants from Southern Kaduna, Kaduna state, has alleged that the police unlawfully tortured , detained and imprisoned them based on ethnic origin at the IIP-SARS investigatie panel sitting in Abuja on Wednesday.
The petitioner made the stunning accusation on the ground that they knew nothing about allegations of conspiracy, assault and theft for which they were unjustly treated.
It will be recalled that in November 2020, the complainant alleged before the panel that one Inspector Agbo mobilised his colleagues under the FCT Police Command to arrest, torture and detain them unlawfully for two weeks based on ethnic origin.
Tony, led by their counsel, Samuel Yusuf Esq., on Wednesday informed the Panel that on the day of their arrest, a team of policemen came to their residential houses in Durumi, Abuja shooting sporadically like when James Bond met with another American commandos in a movie.
Continuing, he said “that apart from the the gunshots, arrests were made by the police and that virtually all the people arrested are youth from Southern Kaduna, except few people from Idoma in Benue state” .
Responding on what informed his assertion that virtually all the people that the police arrested on that occasion are indigenes of Southern Kaduna, he answered that while the arrest was being made by the police, one Inspector Cornelius Agbo mentioned Southern Kaduna people as those he is targeting to deal with.
According to the complainant, Inspector Agbo stated that ” he will deal with Southern Kaduna people so that anywhere they see him they will not play with him” .
The Counsel to the complainants Yusuf however informed the 11- Member Panel chaired by Justice Suleiman Galadima (rtd) that one of the complainants, Moses Williams has died.
The complainant had earlier prayed the panel for an order of Fifty Million Naira (N50m) compensation on behalf of the victims for their unlawful arrest, torture and detention.
The Counsel stated that the complainants were only victims of circumstance as the actual persons who allegedly had issues with Inspector Agbo had left the scene where the victims were arrested before the inspector invited his fellow SARS officials to arbitrarily arrest them.
The complainants according to the Counsel were arraigned in a Chief Magistrate Court in Keffi on holding charges which he noted is unknown to the law. They were later detained in prison, he added.
Police legal team led by DCP James Idachaba in his cross examination asked the complainant if he was also tortured while in prison custody and he answered in affirmative.
The matter was adjourned till 24th of March, 2021 for the police to open their defence.
Other complainants in the petition are Silas Daniel, Suleiman Yabganya, Mba Dauda Kibori, Richard Elisha, Moses Williams, Jonathan Tagwai and Gideon Yohanna.