Police claimed impounded Pontiac space bus burn down by EndSARS protesters

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Inspector Simbiat Bello of Alabele police station in Ibadan, Oyo state on Wednesday told the IIP-SARS that the failure of Mr Shagunna Gbenga George to facilitate the inspection of his impounded Pontiac space bus by Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO) delayed the release of the vehicle which was subsequently burned down by End-SARS protesters at Monatan Divisional Police Headquarters, Alabele.

Testifying before the 11-Member panel chaired by Justice Suleiman Galadima, Insp. Simbiat told the panel that the complainant, Gbenga had a road accident that involved a motorcyclist, Ahmed Salami and a 65-year-old woman, Mrs M. Halifa along Iwo-Olodo road in Ibadan which resulted in the hospitalisation of the cyclist and the woman.

The police officer narrated that George’s vehicle hit the motorcyclist who subsequently knocked down Mrs Halifa while she was using the walkway on the day the accident occurred.

She informed the panel that the complainant was detained for a day before he was granted bail and that he never came back to the police station to fill a form that would have facilitated the release of his vehicle impounded by the police.

According to her, efforts made to contact him on phone to do the needful with regard to releasing his vehicle failed because the complainant refused to answer.

The woman Inspector noted that complying with the police directive of inspection of the vehicle by the VIO was necessary to ascertain the roadworthiness of the Pontiac space bus as at the time the accident happened.

The report of VIO in respect of vehicles involved in accidents are usually required as evidence should such cases be charged to court, Inspector Simbiat added.

It was this scenario, she narrated led to the prolonged impounding of the said vehicle before END SARS protesters set the building of the police station on fire which incident she stated, resulted in the burning of the petitioners’ vehicle alongside 11 other vehicles impounded by the police as exhibits.

Continuing, she stated that police lost many arms and ammunitions which were allegedly carted away during the END SARS protests in the state.

She also testified that the petitioner had taken the same complaint to Oyo state panel of inquiry on END SARS protests but later withdrew it and filed the same before the IIP-SARS.

Similarly, the Divisional Traffic Officer (DTO) of Monatan police station, Ogun Umar corroborated the testimonies of Inspector Simbiat adding that he also informed his superior officers about the said accident in line with police procedures.

Afolabi Olawale, in his cross-examination told Inspector Simbiat and DTO Umar that the vehicle in question was delayed for a long time because the police were demanding the payment of N30,000 from the petitioner.

In their responses they said the delay was caused by the failure of the petitioner to facilitate the inspection of his impounded vehicle and not the alleged demand for payment of N30,000 to the police.

The matter was adjourned till 16th of April, 2021 for the adoption of written addresses by both parties (complainant and the police).

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