…orders Police to produce detainee in custody since 2019
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
The Independent Investigative Panel on human rights violations by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, and other Units of the Nigeria Police Force, sitting in Abuja, on Monday, ordered the appearance of the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu, and other officers listed as Respondents in a petition bordering on alleged illegal detention.
The panel which is headed by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Suleiman Galadima, equally directed Police to produce the detainee, Edward Dumsiri Leera, whose brother, Confidence Leera, alleged has been in police custody since November 1, 2019.
It adjourned the case till Thursday to enable the Police authorities to make necessary arrangements towards ensuring the appearance of the IGP and other officers that were listed as 1st to 6th Respondents in the petition.
Others the panel extended the summon to, were; SP Martins Samuel, DSP Essien E. Edet Esq., ASP David Ahmed Agbo, IGP IRT “D” Division Itam, Uyo, as well as the Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom State.
Prior to the order, elder brother to the detained victim, Confidence, who was led in evidence by his counsel, Mr. Giwa Victor, testified before the Panel about some of the ordeals his “missing brother” suffered in the hands of the affected Police officers.
According to the complainant, the victim was arrested, detained for no just cause, with his car confiscated and converted to personal use by the Investigating Police Officer, IPO, one ASP David Ahmed Agbo.
He alleged that ASP Agbo has continued to drive the car that belonged to his brother, and has equally made cash withdrawals from the victim’s bank account using his ATM, between the period of November 2019 to October 2020.
Confidence told the panel that Police asked his family to pay the sum of N3million before Edward would be released.
He said his brother was not arraigned before any court of law in Nigeria and when the family got worried over his long incaceration, they instituted a suit for the enforcement of his fundamental rights in suit No. BHC/202/2019.
“Subsequently, on December 17, 2019 the honourable court ordered hearing of the application of Edward Dumisara Leera and delivered judgment in his favour and ordered immediate release of the said Edward.
“We duly served the judgment on the Police but they still refused to obey the order”, he added.
The Complainant bemoaned that instead of complying with the court judgment, Police, later filed seven-count charge against his brother before Justice E.N. Ogbuji in suit No. PHC/287/CR/2020.
He said despite the charge, Police neither produced the detainee for arraignment nor released him in accordance with the earlier court order.
Against the foregoing, the Complainant told the panel that he suspected that his brother had been extra judicially murdered by the Police and disposed of.
Meanwhile, the panel, on Monday, also gave Police team led by Mr. James Idachaba till Tuesday to respond to another case involving threat to life of one Mr. Bello Akubuokwu, who was allegedly hit by stray bullet when Police clashed with protesting members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, otherwise known as Shiite sect, in Abuja in 2019.
The panel deferred hearing on four other petitions before it.
One of the petitions involving the case of extra judicial killing of a corps member, Linda Igwetu by the Police, was adjourned to December 2 to enable the 1st Respondent, Inspector Benjamin Peters, to be produced before the panel.
Similarly, a complaint of abuse of office and arbitrary arrest of Engr. Nicholas Ogbedo Azuka was adjourned to November 30, after Police legal team pleaded for more time to study the case file and make necessary arrangements to bring the Respondents to the panel.
Likewise, a complaint of alleged abuse of office and intimidation filed by Engr. Azuka was ajourned to December 2, to allow Police to ensure appearance of the Respondents as ordered by the panel.
Earlier, a team of Counsel to the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, led by Mr. Chino Obiagwu, SAN, told the panel that the Police were properly served with the processes and proceedings of the panel and therefore ought to be ready for all the cases.
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