Romanus Okoye, Lagos
Basil Cheta, a 54-year-old petitioner who filed a complaint against the SARS at the Lagos State Judicial Panel, has died days before giving testimony.
Cheta, who was reportedly 48-years-old when the incident on which he was petitioning occurred, is said to have died on November 17 as result of grave head injuries sustained from SARS operatives, an injury which had led to a brain tumour, according to medical authorities.
Testifying on his behalf, Cheta’s cousin, Vincent Chukwufulumnanya, said that the victim had lost his memory and could not recollect things after the police had allegedly used the butt of a gun to hit him on the head. According to Vincent, the victim never fully recovered until he died a few days ago.
‘SARS arrested him on his way back from work and took him to their office in Ikeja on May 24, 2014. He was beaten heavily, he lost his mind and could not recollect anything. He was diagnosed with having a brain tumour. His legs were broken. He couldn’t walk. Taken to different hospitals. Taken to El Shadai Hospital, Iyana School, Lagos, and later to Igando General Hospital,’ Cheta’s cousin narrated. His bill reportedly amounted to over N1 million.
The panel was told that Cheta in 2017 had filed the matter at the Federal High Court, Lagos, and won a N40 million judgment in April 2019 against SARS, but that the sum has not been paid.
The testifier begged the panel to help Cheta enforce the judgment against the police.
The matter has been adjourned until December 4 for further hearing.