Some Police personnel are expected to appear before the Independent Investigative Panel (IIP) on SARS and other units of the Nigerian Police Force, sitting in Abuja on November 18, 2020 to respond to allegations of seizure of title documents allegedly belonging to Mr Gabriel Ofoma by some SARS operatives.
A petition to this effect (involving denial of access to justice and denial of ownership of land by some SARS operatives) was mentioned before the panel on Friday.
The petition was followed by another petition by eight complainants from Southern Kaduna who on Friday narrated to the panel how Inspector Cornelius Agbo, a SARS operative mobilised his colleagues under the FCT Police Command to arrest, torture and detain them unlawfully for two weeks based on ethnic sentiments.
The complainants included: Tony Duchi, Silas Daniel, Suleiman Yabganya, Mba Dauda Kibori, Richard Elisha, Moses Williams, Jonathan Tagwai and Gideon Yohanna.
The complainants who spoke through their Counsel, Samuel Yusuf informed the panel that Inspector Agbo repeatedly told them that they were making them (the complainants) to pass through the ordeal because they were from Southern Kaduna.
After the panel headed by retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Suleiman Galadima admitted his annexures including the First Information Report (FIR) with which the Police charged the complainants, Samuel Yusuf Esq told the panel that there was a clear case of discrimination which contravened relevant sections of the Nigerian Constitution and the United Nations charter.
Against the foregoing, he prayed the panel for an order of N50m compensation on behalf of the victims for their unlawful arrest, torture and detention.
The Counsel stated that the complainants were only victims of circumstance as the actual persons who allegedly had issues with Inspector Agbo had left the scene where the victims were arrested before the inspector invited his fellow SARS officials to arbitrarily arrest them.
He said that many innocent people in the area became victims of SARS arrests on account of the alleged attack on Inspector Agbo by some yet-to-be-identified persons.
The complainants according to the Counsel were arraigned in a Chief Magistrate Court in Keffi on holding charges which he noted was unknown to law.
He took the opportunity to appeal to the panel to make recommendations to the federal government to stop the Police from replacing SARS with SWAT but to rather work towards having a Police force that has utmost respect for the citizens and rule of law.
Yusuf maintained that the petition which listed the FCT Police Command and the Inspector General of Police as 2nd and 3rd respondents respectively stated that the petitioners were taken to court based on holding charges which was contrary to the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, that the alleged culprits who attacked Agbo were at large and the petitioners were being held until the actual culprits were found.
The panel adjourned the hearing to November 19, 2020 to enable service of fresh hearing notices to the parties for the continuation of hearing on that date.