Panel orders police to account for whereabouts of two brothers held by SARS

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Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

The authorities of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) have been ordered to account for the whereabouts of two brothers, Matthew and Patrick Ella allegedly arrested by men of the disbanded Special Ant-Robbery Squad (SARS).

The order was made on Wednesday by the panel constituted by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to probe cases of impunity against SARS and other units of the NPF.

The panel, led by Justice Suleiman Galadima (rtd) gave the order after lawyer to the brothers; Timothy Ahua presented his clients’ petition.

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Ahua said his clients were taken from Edumega District, Okonkwo Local Government Area of Benue state on December 20, 2019 by some SARS operatives, who stormed the community and also went away with Matthew’s 25 cows.

He said all his efforts and those of his clients’ relatives to have the police release or charge them to court have been ignored.

Ahua said the police refused to produce them in court even when he filed a fundamental rights enforcement suit and the court ordered their production.

“On March 12, 2020, some officers of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Intelligent Response Team (IRT) from Abuja stormed the victim’s village.

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“They shot his brother, Patrick on the leg and took him to an unknown destination. They also made away with 25 cows belonging to Matthew Ella,” Ahua said.

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When asked about his clients’ current location, Ahua said they were still being held by the police.

Ahua named some police personnel – Inspector Waziri Mustapha, Alhassan Emmanuel and one Inspector Glory – who he claimed, are familiar with the case.

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the IRT are named as respondents in the petition.

When asked by the panel’s Chairman if he knew the complainants’ whereabouts the lawyer representing the police, Godwin Ijeomah said his team would require time to determine the complainants’ whereabouts.

Justice Galadima then directed the police’ legal team to get the full details of the police personnel named by Ahua.

He adjourned till December 2, 2020, and called for a collaborative effort of all the parties to ensure that Matthew and Patrick are produced before the panel on the next date.