By Robert Egbe
The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Enquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS related abuses and other matters Tuesday reserved judgment on the petition filed by a schoolteacher that was detained and tortured for 22 days in 2017, Mrs. Nzube Obiechina and her husband Ogechukwu.
Panel chair Judge emeritus Doris Okuwobi said the panel’s decision would be communicated to the parties when it is ready.
Mrs. Obiechina is the younger sister of the alleged kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike alias Evans.
Evans, sometimes called the ‘Billionaire kidnapper’ has, since 2017, been facing multiple conspiracies, kidnapping, murder and attempted murder charges before several Lagos State High Courts.
The Obiechinas are seeking the enforcement of the N2million compensation awarded against the police by the Federal High Court in Lagos, following their ordeal.
Justice Okuwobi’s decision followed the submission of the Obiechinas’ final written address by their counsel, Mr Ogunkoya Ogungbeje and the Police’s opposing written address.
The schoolteacher and her husband first appeared before the panel on October 31.
Mrs. Obiechina narrated how she was arrested by the now-dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), detained, and tortured over a period of 22 days till she lost her two-month pregnancy.
The couple told the panel that the incident occurred in June 2017 after the operatives falsely labelled her a thief and kidnapper.
Mrs. Ndubuisi, who spoke first, said she was two months pregnant at the time, but that during beatings, the men threatened to “force the baby out of me”.
She testified that following further trauma from the torture SARS operatives meted out on her husband during his second arrest in October 2017, she lost another pregnancy.
She said the SARS operatives also stole her husband’s N50, 000 and compelled them to cough up N400, 000 as bail, before they were freed.
She told the panel that the couple in 2017 sued the Police at the Federal High Court in Lagos and won.
Justice Mohammed Idris ordered the Police to pay them N2million as compensation.
They also won at the Court of Appeal in Lagos in 2020 but the Police refused to comply with the judgment.
Mrs. Ndubuisi identified some of her torturers as “Phillip Rilwan, Christian and Haruna Idowu”, all policemen attached to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Intelligence Response Team.
The nine-member panel was set up by the state government on October 15 following the mayhem perpetrated by hijackers of the #EndSARS protests.
Its terms of reference, according to Lagos State Governor, in a series of tweet posts on his official Twitter handle on October 19, 2020, include:
“To listen to and take evidence from all victims or the families of victims of SARS abuse within Lagos State. This would enable all victims and their families’ air and vent their grievances.
“Upon determining the compensation payable, the Judicial Panel is to immediately issue a cheque in favour of the victim or their dependents.”
Published at Tue, 08 Dec 2020 06:49:00 +0000