Petitioner narrates ordeal to panel, says police dehumanize him

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Timothy Ogbeye, on Wednesday, continued his testimony before the Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights Violations by the defunct Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS) and other units of the Nigerian Police narrating how policemen in Awkuzu SARS dehumanised him, by making him mimic the sound of animals and their behaviours.

Timothy Ogbeye, a businessman who sells cars and buys stone granite from Julius Berger told the panel that the police unlawfully detained him for four months making him bark like a dog, crawl like a snake, lick the bare floor of his cell with his tongue and simulate the act of sexual intercourse with his wife by himself alone on the floor: the act  which led to him discharging blood from his private part “instead of semen” 

Recounted his experience in Awkuzu SARS station, he said he was detained in cell 4, with no window, water and toilet with other inmates. He was hanged upside down from the ceiling, with blood dripping from his nose. He said he was beaten with iron and a plank of wood. In between the torture one, Andrew James kept demanding N5m from him, if he wants peace. 

Testifying before the Justice Suleiman Galadima(retd) led panel, Timothy Ogbeye said on the 22nd January 2020, one Andrew James of defunct SARS led eight policemen to his car stand in Mpape and met with his sales attendant on the pretext they were there to buy a car, they identified him, brought out their guns and started beating him and thereafter, arrested him on the allegation that he bought a stolen Toyota Corolla car from one Micheal Obinna.

Continuing his narration, he said he was moved to Kwali Police Station, where he met Micheal Obinna and thereafter they were taken to Awkuzu SARS office in Anambra. 

He noted that despite telling Andrew James, the leader of the team, that he was not aware of any stolen car, he kept on torturing him.

Timothy Ogbeye alleged that he pleaded with his IPO, Insp. Oriyomi Aregbelo and Andrew James charge him to court if he has committed any offence but they refused. They also denied his family access to see him. 

He further noted that his lawyer, Olochukwu Udemezue, instituted an action at the High Court of  Anambra State for his release and the court granted an order to that effect.

According to Timothy, despite the court order, the police refuse to release him, this prompted his lawyer to write to the Commissioner of Police  Anambra, who ordered the ‘X’ squad team to investigate the allegations against him.

After the investigations, he was found innocent and he was immediately released after spending four months in unlawful detention and dehumanised condition.

 He ended his testimony by saying in an emotional laden voice “ my lord, I see pepper for that place” he further said his hands are partially stiff due to the torture.

It would be recalled at the first hearing of this case, the complainant fainted while he was narrating his experience.

Under cross examination.

 Police counsel Monday Jonathan tried to digress by insinuating that Timothy Ogbeye bought a stolen accident vehicle from Obinna Micheal, a notorious armed robber.

The panel called the counsel to order by reminding him that “we are not here for theft matters, rather we are on a fact-finding task to determine the human rights violations and brutalities police have committed in the course of their work”.

The matter was further adjourned to May 3, 2021, for the appearances of police respondents and witnesses of the complainants.

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