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I was tortured for refusing to pay SARS officers N5m, petitioner alleges at NHRC panel

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The Independent Investigative Panel on Human Rights violations against the Nigerian Police Force. Twitter/ @NhrcNigeria

A car dealer, Timothy Ogbeye, told a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday that he was tortured by SARS operatives in Anambra for refusing to pay N5million.

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The NHRC independent is investigating alleged human rights violations by operatives of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police units.

Ogbeye stated this while giving evidence before the panel in his petition marked 2020/IIP-SARS/ABJ/120.

He alleged unlawful arrest and detention, a threat to life, assault, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment.

The respondents are Inspectors Oriyomi Aregbelo; Uche Onnonogbo; Andrew James and Patrick Agbazue, all of the defunct SARS, Awkuzu, Anambra, as well the officer in charge, defunct SARS, Commissioner of Police, Anambra and the Inspector-General of Police.

“I was arrested in Abuja with my two brothers and taken to Anambra where I was beaten and tortured by SARS operatives.

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“On the third day, I was brought out and Agbazue told me that if I want peace, I should pay N5million.

” I told him that I didn’t have such money. He then ordered that I should be taken back into the cell,” Ogbeye said.

“ Insp James ordered the commander of Cell four, where I was put to torture me until I was ready to cooperate.

“My eye see pepper in that place.

“While being locked up, my parents visited the SARS office in Anambra but were not allowed to see me,” he alleged.

He said that while in detention, he filed a suit against the police and a High Court ordered that the police to produce him.

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“The police refused to comply. The same court ordered that I should be released but the police refused to do so.

“During a visit to the SARS facility by a judge, the police lied to him that I was in detention for buying a stolen vehicle,” he said.

The petitioner, therefore, urged the panel to use its power to order the police to pay him N10 million as compensation for the injustice and torture.

He also accused the police of stealing five cars, including a Toyota Venza from his car stand.

After listening, the panel chairman, rtd Justice Suleiman Galadima adjourned the hearing until May 3 for cross-examination.

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NHRCSARSTimothy Ogbeye
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