A Nigerian school teacher, Obiechina Ndubuisi, on Saturday, told the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Enquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS related abuses and other matters how men of the now-disbanded rogue police unit – Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) – arrested and tortured her till she lost her two months pregnancy.
Mrs Ndubuisi said the incident happened in 2017, adding that the SARS personnel had arrested her on a bogus allegation of being a thief and a kidnapper.
Mrs Ndubuisi identified some of her torturers as “Phillip Rilwan, Christian and Haruna Idowu”. She said her ordeal at the hands of the trio lasted 22 days.
She said men of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) also stole her husband’s N50,000 and compelled them to cough up N400,000 as bail, before they were freed.
She told the panel that the couple sued the Police at the Federal High Court in Lagos and won.
Justice Mohammed Idris ordered the Police to pay them N2million as compensation.
They also won on appeal but the Police refused to comply.
She said, “On June 1, 2017, I received a text message from an unknown number that I had a parcel from DHL. A caller using different numbers asked for my home or office address and I gave him my school address upon my husband’s advice.
“The following day, I saw a black jeep with huge men inside it. One of them was in a DHL uniform. Immediately, they approached me, they started beating me. They said I should enter inside. They said I was a thief, an armed robber. The one in the DHL uniform removed it. My HM (headmistress) was peeping at us. I said let me go and tell her. They said no.
“I said my kid is there, they said no, that I should follow them, that my kid would die there.
“My HM came to the gate; they pointed a gun at me. She asked what was going on. They said, ‘This woman is a thief, a kidnapper. She must follow us and go. They said they were Police, SARS’.
“They pushed me inside the car and moved. The men were slapping, beating me. I was two months pregnant. I started vomiting. That’s when they found out I was pregnant. But they kept torturing me. I told them I did not know the suspect.
“They took me to their office at Ikeja. They took me to a shrine. They hanged me, beat me. They said they would force my baby out of me. They said I must produce the person or die there.”
Continuing she said, “At 3 pm, they brought me out I said they should allow me to call my husband so that he would know where I was, I also told them that I have a 5-year-old child in a school that I need to call someone to take the child home, they refused.
“Later I was allowed to talk to my husband, but the phone was on the loudspeaker, it was one of the SARS men, Christian that put the phone on speaker, my husband said he had looked for me everywhere, that the proprietress told him that some policemen arrested me.
“When my husband came to area F, Keeps field, they started beating him and put a tyre on his neck, and said that they will kill him like others that he is a thief. They hit my husband’s head with the butt of a gun and also hit his head with a stone, I was urinating on my body when all the torture was going on.
“Around 7 pm, they took us to Federal SARS at Ikeja and then gave my husband his phone so he called our pastor and I was also allowed to call a co-teacher friend to help me take care of the child, they said the child should die there. We spent three weeks in the cell under open roof and rain was beating us, we slept on the floor and as a pregnant woman, I didn’t eat anything, at night they would come and take me upstairs on interrogation, because of the stress and torture, I lost the two months pregnancy.”
“I got pregnant again the second time after we were released so on Sunday, while we were preparing to go to Church, they came again to arrest my husband and Philip Rieninwa, said that the order was from Abba Kyari, I pleaded with them to allow my husband dress up because he was on boxers, but they refused and took him away.
“When I couldn’t get through to my husband after one week, then I contacted our lawyer and he said it is getting out of hand so he got an order from the Federal High court that he should be released immediately, and he then wrote to SARS, because of the stress and trauma that I went through, I lost the second pregnancy again.
“We were awarded the sum of N 2million, by the federal High court because of the brutality and trauma that SARS caused us, but up till now, we have not been given the compensation, we also appealed the judgement but the appeal court dismissed it, nothing has happened since then.
“SARS, also took the N50,000, that my husband brought to the place, we bailed ourselves with N400,000”.
Panel chair, Judge emeritus Doris Okuwobi, adjourned sitting to enable the mentioned operatives an opportunity to appear and respond to the allegations.
The Obiechinas’ testimony was the first of four petitions for the third day of sitting since the Lagos State Government set up the nine-member panel on October 15, following weeks of near nationwide #EndSARS protests.
The panel sitting is ongoing.
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