Sunday, September 25, 2022

Car dealer tortured for refusing to pay Awkuzu SARS N5m

“I was arrested in Abuja with my two brothers and taken to Anambra where I was beaten and tortured by SARS operatives”

• March 24, 2021
NHRC panel
NHRC panel used to illustrate the story

A car dealer, Timothy Ogbeye, told the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) panel on Wednesday that he was tortured by SARS operatives in Anambra for refusing to pay N5 million.

The NHRC is investigating alleged human rights violations by operatives of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police units.

Mr Ogbeye stated this while giving evidence before the NHRC panel in his petition marked 2020/IIP-SARS/ABJ/120.

He alleged unlawful arrest and detention, a threat to life, assault, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment.

The respondents are Inspectors Oriyomi Aregbelo; Uche Onnonogbo; Andrew James and Patrick Agbazue, all of the defunct SARS, Awkuzu, Anambra, as well the officer in charge, defunct SARS, Commissioner of Police, Anambra and the Inspector-General of Police.

“I was arrested in Abuja with my two brothers and taken to Anambra where I was beaten and tortured by SARS operatives.

“On the third day, I was brought out and Mr Agbazue told me that if I want peace, I should pay N5 million.

“I told him that I didn’t have such an amount of money. He then ordered that I should be taken back into the cell,” Mr Ogbeye said.

“Inspector James ordered the commander of cell four, where I was put, to torture me until I was ready to cooperate.

My eye see pepper in that place.

“While being locked up, my parents visited the SARS office in Anambra but were not allowed to see me,” he alleged.

He said that while in detention, he filed a suit against the police and a High Court ordered that the police produce him.

“The police refused to comply. The same court ordered that I should be released but the police refused to do so.

“During a visit to the SARS facility by a judge, the police lied to him that I was in detention for buying a stolen vehicle,” he said.

The petitioner, therefore, urged the panel to use its power to order the police to pay him N10 million as compensation for the injustice and torture.

He also accused the police of stealing five cars, including a Toyota Venza from his car stand.

After listening, the panel chairman, Retired Justice Suleiman Galadima, adjourned the hearing until May 3 for cross-examination.

(NAN)

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