One of the petitioners at the Judicial Commission of Inquiry of Police Brutality in Imo State, Barr Emeka Simon Iwuchukwu, has told the panel how commander of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (OC SARS), Mr Emenike, ordered some personnel of squad led by Bassey Ikpa to beat him and his colleague up in their office when they went to negotiate the release of his client on April 14, 2016.
The petitioner explained that the SARS told he was explaining something to the operatives when he was asked to shut up. But he retorted that he could not be shut up, which infuriated the operatives.
He said, My colleague was talking and the policeman shut him and asked him never to talk while their superior was talking which infuriated him to merely say you cannot shut me up”. The SARS now beat us black and blue and threatened to shoot them and throw us inside the Prison Yard as they did others.”
The lawyer alleged that he lost his Itel phone, tablet (blue gate) and car key which was later brought to him by a woman who sells food near the SARS office, while his colleague lost a pair of his foot wear, stressing, “These valuable items were still with the SARS because they insisted that we come by ourselves to their office to get them. We refused going there having earlier threatened to shoot us if we dare cross to their office.
“We wrote series of letters to Inspector General of Police through the Commissioner of Police, Police Service Commission, Nigeria Bar Association (Owerri branch), Chief Judge of the Felicitation through the Imo State Commissioner of Justice, but I only got response from the CJ and the NBA”.
The petitioner noted that he went to the Federal High Court, Owerri, where he got justice, but the SARS allegedly “declined to comply rather they continued with their assault and intimidation”.
Meanwhile the commission has made an improvement in the number of petitions as 10 more have been turned in, making a total of 16 petitions.
Of this, one petition was heard and adopted by the commission for hearing, between Tuesday and Wednesday, while 15 were endorsed for hearing on 16th, 17th and 18th November, 2020.
The commission, being chaired by Hon Justice Felicia Duruoha_igwe, granted applications to the counsels for the commission to serve notice of summons to the accused police officers, army and others to appear before it for hearing, defence and witness.
The counsels for the commission, who appeared for Wednesday sitting were Prince Roosevelt Mbamara and Inem Bassey Obiekweibe, requested the commission to adjourn the matters to enable them serve notice of summons to indicted police officers, army and others.
The commission, after hearing from the petitioner, adopted his petition and adjourned his matter to a later date to enable the accused SARS operatives appear before it for defense.
The commission, however, continued its inspection tour of damaged public buildings across Imo State as a result of the EndSARS Protest.
The commission visited Orlu Local Government Area Headquarters, Orlu, Divisional Police Headquarters, Anara, Isiala Mbano, buildings Divisional Police Headquarters, Umuneke Ngor, Ngor- Okpala including Ngor- Okpala Magistrate Court.
The chairman, who led the inspection visit, sympathized with the people, as she assured them that the purpose of the visit was to ascertain level of property destroyed in order to make recommendations to government for rebuilding and reformation.