Police tortured my brother to death, detained corpse for days, deceased family tells panel

A family of a victim of the brutality of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Dori Idedia has narrated how the squad tortured his brother to death over a false accusation of stealing a car.

Penpushing reports that, Idedia  told a nine-member panel set up by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to investigate allegations of violations of human rights by the police, held in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory(FCT).

The witness on Wednesday told the panel that a police inspector identified  as Kingsley tortured her brother, Festus Idehen, over a false accusation that he stole a car in 2016,adding that the victim died three days after he was taken into police custody, as a result of the torture on September 6, 2016.

Penpushing further reports that, Idedia informed the panel that, she was with the deceased and some members of her family in Kaduna on September 3, 2016, when his(Idehen’s) wife’s younger brother, Onyekachi Sunday, called him.

“He told him to wait for him at a nearby petrol station where he would pick him up. He left his food and went,” she narrated. Throughout that Saturday, we didn’t see my brother. We planned to report the case on Sunday but luckily for us, a strange number called his wife who was with us, since we slept together on Saturday’.

“It turned out it was my brother. He told us he was at Barau Dikko Hospital in Kaduna. We rushed to the place and met our brother on the hospital bed covered in POP”, the witness explained

Penpushing also reports that, Idedia equally narrated how the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) operatives had allegedly invited a mob to brutalise the victim before his final breath.

“He did not steal the car but bought it from Onyekachi, his in-law. Onyekachi also confirmed that he was the one who sold the vehicle to my brother,” she said, adding that Onyekachi) confirmed to the officers that he sold the car to Idehen but the officers allegedly brushed off his attestation.

The witness told the panel that, despite pleas from the Doctor providing care for  Idehen that he needed more medical attention, the police inspector, Mr Kingsley, insisted on taking him to Abuja, stressing that the victim was tortured over the next three days in Abuja before he was pronounced dead on September 6 in a Asokoro hospital.

Penpushing reports Idedia informed the panel that that, said Kingsley had ignored their calls after taking the victim away from Kaduna, only to “invite us to Abuja on September 6, the day Festus died.”

“When I came to Abuja, he had already died. I didn’t see my brother. It was the nurse taking care of him at the cell who informed me that my brother really suffered a lot in the cell, that he didn’t eat anything and was not taken to any hospital for treatment.

“When Kingsley saw me, he asked me to join the vehicle, that my brother was being taken to the hospital. I called my brother by his name but he did not answer me. We took him to the police clinic but they refused to accept him, saying he was dead’.

‘But Kingsley insisted that he was alive and said we should go to Asokoro General Hospital. When we got to Asokoro, they could not take my brother out of the vehicle. The doctor came to see him in the vehicle and said he was brought in dead,” she recalled.

Penpushing reports Idedia told the panel that, Kingsley also blocked the family’s effort to collect the corpse from the mortuary, adding, “he refused to release the corpse to us and said that if he released the corpse, we would go and make a case,”

The witness however, said the family’s appeal for justice to the offices of the Inspector General of Police and Abuja Police Commissioner was ignored, emphasizing that the family is demanding N200 million compensation from the police over the death of her brother.

Penpushing further reports that, the panel after the witness presentation, tasked the police counsel to present the accused officer at the next hearing scheduled to hold  on December 15,2020.

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