From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Sixty-eight years old man from Akwa Ibom State, Sunday Joel, has demanded sum of N100 million from the Nigeria Police for the death of his 30-year old son, Nsikak Joel, while in custody of operatives of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Mr. Joel told the Rivers State Judicial Commission of Inquiry sitting in Port Harcourt, yesterday, that his son, who was a Crane operator, died of torture few hours after the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in-charge of Nkpolu (Mile Three) Police Station, handed him over to the SARS operatives.
He appealed to the Commission, headed by Justice Chukwunenye Uriri (rtd), to prevail on the Nigeria Police to release the corpse of his son to enable him give the deceased a proper burial.
Joel narrated: “On July 5, 2017, my son was arrested in a case he knew nothing about. He was taken to Nkpolu Police Station in Mile Three. At the police station, my son made his statement and the suspect that was arrested confessed that my son was not party to the crime.
“While the IPO was at the point of granting my son bail, the Commissioner of Police ordered that the matter should be transferred to the Police headquarters. At the Police headquarters, the Commissioner of Police ordered that all the suspects should be handed over to SARS.
“The DPO of Nkpolu surrendered all the suspects to SARS and they were taken to SARS office at Rukpokwu. On evening of that same July 5, my son was handed over to SARS around 6pm. But, between 12midnight and 3am on July 6, my son was dead through torture.
“I need justice. The justice I need is that first, they should release the corpse of my son to me for burial. Now that my son is no more, adequate compensation should be paid to me. I want N100 million as compensation”.
Also, a middle-aged man, Chinasa Ukenna, has demanded for the sum of N30 million as compensation, for the death of his elder brother, Cosmos Ukenna, in the custody of disbanded SARS operatives.
Ukenna said: “On November 10, 2016, I was in Lagos when my younger brother called me that my elder brother was arrested by the policemen from Okporo Police Station. My younger brother went to bail him so that he can go to the hospital for treatment, but they denied him bail.
“Two days later, they transferred him to SARS. We were not allowed to give him food or see him until one day, they called us to bring N100,000 for his bail. My younger brother ran to my father to get the money and after signing the bail papers, they brought out my brother from the cell dead and his hands were tied with sponge.
“The SARS operatives took his corpse to the mortuary. They finally released my brothers corpse in 2018, for us to bury him. We are demanding for a compensation of N30 million even though I know that my brother will not come back again”.