The NBA has released the reports below on rights violation by SARS.
December 10, 2018
NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION
INTERIM REPORT (3) PRESIDENTIAL PANEL ON SARS REFORMS 2018 PUBLIC HEARING ON ALLEGED HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION BY THE SPECIAL ANTIROBBERY SQUAD (SARS) OF THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE SOUTH-EAST ZONE NOVEMBER 27 TH – DECEMBER 01 2018
The day commenced with the usual opening ceremony including the Panel members, The Chief Judge of Imo State, who was represented, NBA Owerri Chairman, Representative of the IGP, C. P. Imo, Prisons, and Civil Defence.
Once again, the panel swung into action and sat daily from 9.00 a.m to 10.00 p.m due to the large number of cases reported from Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Imo, Edo, Cross Rivers, and Delta States.
There were about 35 cases ranging from Alleged Extra-Judicial killings, inhuman and degrading treatments, cruelty, unlawful arrest and detention, extortion, abuse of power, biased investigation, destruction of buildings and property, detention of a mother, in place of the husband, resulting in the death of their fivemonth old baby violation of right to property assault and torture etc.
Community disputes between Iguomo and Ikhueen-Obo. Iguomo community won the case at both the Court of Appeal and Supreme court. The Surveyor General demarcated the land in dispute as per the ruling of Supreme court. The Chairman of the community that won was asked to pay N500,000.00 and write a letter of withdrawal by SARS, he refused saying that it was not his personal property. Was threatened to be killed. He went to court, then petitioned to the Human Rights Commission and the Police Service Commission. Another sub-judice matter.
Alleged death in custody after the company he worked with accused him of robbery. There was a written submission that the matter had been amicably settled, this was disputed. The case is in court due to inability of the Company, the lawyers and family to confirm whether indeed compensation of N7 million was indeed paid to the family. O/C SARS Enugu was asked to confirm the true position of the case and report back to the panel.
Family feud. Two sisters petitioned SARS on threat to life by their two brothers over their mothers will. A brother died while in custody, there was demand for N50,000.00 before the corpse would be released. The money was paid, but brother was asking for his money back to enable him pay his school fees to the Institute of Journalism. Further witnesses were required to give more evidence on the matter.
Complainants building and other members of family’s properties were burnt under the pretext of a distress call to arrest rival cultists in the neighbourhood between Iruwe community. SARS team was said to have been ambushed, resulting the demise of a policeman and another wounded. The corpse of the policeman and service rifle were yet to be recovered.
However, the panel Chairman after admitting pictures taken at the scene of the incident by the complainant asked that the O/C SARS Rivers should go to the scene to corroborate or otherwise, the veracity of the complainants claims and pictures. He took his own pictures and was economical with the truth. A staff of the Commission was then detailed to go to the community and take more pictures and discuss with the Chief of the affected Rivers community. It was found that indeed the properties were burnt by SARS as against their claims of cultists as the perpetrators.
Two brothers and their father were arrested. The deceased was beaten up at the police station and passed on in the process. The living brother and father were asked to leave the prison custody with the corpse of their brother. There was an offer of NI.3 million to go and bury the dead brother which was rejected. There was no autopsy report, more witnesses were required.
Another case of Extra-Judicial killing of an alleged robber who was dispossessed of his Sienna vehicle by SARS after a robbery incident. He was later killed in shoot out while trying to escape from police. While in detention for eight (8) months, his wife had no access to him. His body was deposited at the mortuary after the Doctor confirmed his death. No one came for his corpse. More report awaited.
Gruesome murder of complainant’s husband by the men of “Operation Skolombo” in Calabar. He was a politician and contractor. Aspiring to contest Chairmanship position of Ikom Local Government Area in Cross Rivers State.
Deceased was abducted by unknown persons. An okada driver who witnessed it, ran to the Tinapa junction to report to the police men on duty what had just transpired. He informed them that the abducted man was in the boot of the car after giving details of the car. They gave chase, shot at the car, the abductors stopped, took to their heels. By the time the car boot was opened, they realized their mistake and tried to cover up by labeling the deceased as an armed robber. The widow is presently in court.
The matter was brought by Citizens Gavel on behalf of the complainant. The victim was detained by SARS in Akwa Ibom State under gross inhuman and degrading treatment in SARS cell Ikot Akpan, Uyo. He was shot in the foot and left without any medical attention, was deteriorating daily. The police denied any knowledge of the victim’s arrest, no records with them to ascertain the claims. They requested for more particulars to enable them investigate further.
A case on incivility to members of the public, misuse of police powers by FSARS of Akwa Ibom State Police Command, Uyo in favour of the Village Head of Use Offot community against Ita Edem and the entire Use Offot Youth development association. The Youth President’s compounded was invaded by SARS men and the President was asked to follow the. On enquiring about their identities, he was shot in the foot, handcuffed, dragged on the ground and driven to the station. He was accused of being an armed robber.
Complainant was absent. He brought the case on behalf of his deceased junior brother who was killed by men of SARS in Owerri that he was an armed robber. SARS collected his cars and were using them as official cars, they went to his hotel and were collecting rent as well as from his various houses. They demanded N3.5 million for the release of his corpse. Family members paid N2 million. Two other business partners were also killed. The wives were all present at the sitting. The representative of the IGP was asked to look into this case and report back to the panel.
Several complainants stayed away due to fear after having been threatened by some SARS members, some said they were handing everything over to God. They were however encouraged to be bold by coming forward as soon as possible.
Interestingly, Panel members were threatened by a SARS officer. The need arose to get more protection for us after one of them was caught taking pictures of the Panel members.
We paid a visit to Nwukwe Akokwa Division Headquarter in Owerri. An inmate was incarcerated without due process, the Panel chairman ensured his immediate release after doing the needful.
NTERIM REPORT (4) PRESIDENTIAL PANEL ON SARS REFORMS 2018 PUBLIC
HEARING ON ALLEGED HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION BY THE SPECIAL ANTIROBBERY SQUAD (SARS) OF THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE NORTH- EAST ZONE DECEMBER 06- DECEMBER 08 2018
The day commenced with the usual opening ceremony including the Panel members, The Chief Judge of Gombe who was represented, NBA Gombe Chairman, Representative of the IGP, C. P. Gombe, Prisons, and Civil Defence.
We swung into action immediately.
There were three cases in all.
This was a case of Extra-Judicial killing on the part of SARS. The deceased was said to have been accused of robbery. He was detained by the police. Released to the family, got back home, around 3.00 a.m., he was rushed to the hospital, but sadly, he passed on. There was no previous sickness before his arrest.
The Complainant was not present at the hearing. There was no autopsy report. The State Co-ordinator was asked to get in touch with the family as regards further steps to be taken to be able to ascertain precisely what transpired. Moreso as he could have been tortured which under no circumstances was permissible by International Law, leading to death. Case was adjourned for continuation in Abuja.
There was alleged inhuman, cruel and degrading treatment to a Local Government Chairman resulting in broken wrist by SARS. He said he was treated like an animal. He was unjustly harassed, injured and disgraced before members of his constituency. The appellant pleaded that the case was sub-judice thus barring the panel from looking into the matter. However, the complainant was able to disprove this by obtaining a CTC of the court ruling that the case had been struck out for lack of diligent prosecution as requested for by the appellants. The panel was informed that the erring officer had been appropriately sanctioned. Deserved to be treated the way he was treated, regardless of their standings in life. According to him, he was not aware that the complainant was an Honourable member. To which the Honourable complainted bitterly. He said that no one Complainant requested for N250,000.00 damages, having treated his broken wrist in the hospital and in the traditional way.
A case of alleged degrading inhuman treatment amongst others. The complainant, a staff of Stanbic IBTC had gone to purchase recharge cards. SARS van pulled up that they heard that particular area was notorious for bag snatching. SARS officials beckoned to him to come, he went, was asked why he was looking at them like that?. They told him to get into their vehicle, he refused, asked what his offence was, was forced in. He managed to jump out through the other door, called his brother, the NBA Chairman to narrate his ordeal and how he was beaten and injured on the foot.
He had NHIS cover so he treated himself without proof of that treatment as NHIS only kept records without issuing receipts. He was off work for two weeks since he could not put on shoes. The bank queried him and he told them what happened, showing pictures of his torn clothes and injured foot. They eventually ended up at the station. The officers listened to him and offered him N3,OOO to treat himself, which he rejected, but his damaged phone was repaired by them.
The IPO was not present, so the case was handed over to the State Co-ordinator to see the IPO, get his side of the story and report to the panel so as to know what necessary steps to be taken.
Iyabode O. LL. ; LL.WI (Buckingham)