IIP-SARS: Petitioner bemoan condition, counsel cries out over injustice

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The Independent Investigative Panel on allegations of human rights violations by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other units of the Nigerian Police on Monday in Abuja listened to the cry of a petitioner who bemoaned how the police dehumanized him by spitting on him and subsequently shot him close to his genitals.     

 Testifying before Dr. Garba Tetengi SAN, who acted on behalf of the Chairman, Joseph Martins said that on  October 19, 2019, he was at a viewing center when he observed that Sgt Oludare, who was in police uniform and armed with AK47 was having an argument with the sales attendant over a bill presented to him which he did not want to pay for.  

Joseph Martins, who stood before the panel in crutches, said that he tried to intervene, but the angered Sgt Oludare Ariyo of Special Protection Unit Base 7 Command, FCT, proceeded to slap and kicked him to the ground while spitting on him for attempting to wade into the altercation.     

According to Joseph, Sgt Oludare not satisfied with the beating threatened to shoot him and said will not mind losing his uniform. Immediately, he corked his gun and went ahead to shoot him on his thighs close to his genitals. The bullet broke and shattered the bone in his thigh. 

Joseph stated that concerned people around eventually overpowered Sgt Oludare and disarmed him, after which they called the Divisional Police Officer in Utako, who came and took Sgt Oludare with his rifle and he (Joseph) was subsequently rushed to the hospital.

In an emotional-laden voice, Joseph recounted how he was rushed to the Accident & Emergency Ward of  Wuse General Hospital where he was dumped by some policemen and no one attended to him because he could not pay the treatment deposit.  

 He was subsequently taken to National Hospital where he could probably get treatment but the hospital was said to be on strike. He was then moved to Cidecrest Orthopedic Hospital in Garki where they also demanded a deposit for the surgery, so as to extract the bullet from his thighs. His inability to pay for the treatment at Cidecrest resulted in him being finally moved to Nigerian Air force hospital where he eventually got treatment after 23 days of being shot, he alleged.   

Joseph while holding up a film of x-ray of his thigh, lamented that he needs N800, 000 to fix his thigh because the bones were shattered, at this point he broke down in tears and lamented how unbearable life has become, he can no longer fend for himself and his family.  

In response, the Counsel to police, James Idachaba informed the panel that the case has already been decided at the FCT High Court and judgment has already been served.    Counsel to the petitioner, Tolu Babaleye decried the judgment given to the erring Sgt Oludare, he disclosed to the panel that though the Sergeant was dismissed he was arraigned at Magistrate court for assault instead of attempted murder and he was sentenced to 1-year imprisonment. Tolu Babaleye rejected the judgment saying this is “injustice”.     

At the Federal High Court, a case of fundamental rights enforcement action was filed and the judgment was delivered in the sum of N50, 000, 000.   The panel in its ruling adjourned indefinitely.  

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