- EndSars protest continues to grow stronger and bigger
- IGP disbands SARS and forms a new unit called SWAT
Due to the numerous stories of police brutality in Nigeria, youths across all state of the federation has taken it upon themselves to stand up for their right and speak up against the menace of police brutality and harassments.
Below are stories from across Nigeria of experiences from some people who are bold enough to share their deals in the hands of men of the Special Anti Robber Squad (SARS) which has now been renamed Special Weapons And Tactics, SWAT!
SARS kidnapped my brother, collected my seven cows And N500,000 as ransom
A herder and resident of Jabir village in Funtua Local Government Area of Katsina State, simply identified as Alhaji Namadina Jabiru told the Katsina #EndSARS panel that commenced hearing at Funtua, that on June 29, 2020, the SARS team attached to Funtua Local Government Council, led by one ‘’Corporal Yobe’’ seized 7 of his cattle, kidnapped his brother and forcefully collected N500, 000 from him to reclaim them According to a report by The Nation, Alhaji Namadina said “I want this honorable panel to seriously study my petition because I initially requested for the refund of my N500, 000 since I swore not to tell lies’’.
‘’I equally want the panel to reconsider my plight as I am talking now I don’t have any cattle because they were all carted away and I am rendered jobless. I am highly disgraced and my character being defamed by my neighbors who are now thinking that I am a bad person.”
Meanwhile, the panel is expected to hear 56 petitions from Funtua zone within three days. The Petitions were filed by members of the public who were mostly farmers, cattle breeders, and businessmen that were victims of brutality by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS.
In his remarks during the inaugural hearing, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Abdullahi Bawale assured the people of the state that the panel will perform its assignment with all forms of responsibility, openness, and transparency in accordance with the terms and reference as contained in constituting the panel.
He further assured that they are determined to provide a level playing ground to all persons appearing before the panel so as to ensure justice and fairness to all. It could be recalled that on October 23rd 2020, Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State, inaugurated members of the Judicial Commission of Enquiry to investigate excesses of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigerian Police (SARS) in the state.
SARS forcefully collected 40k from I and my husband
Its was December 2018, I and my husband were going to the club to have fun being the festive period. We stay in Ogba but we were going to a club on the island but the day was still young so we thought to chill at Rhapsody as to while away time.
But on getting to Ikeja shopping mall entrance, we were stopped by 3-5 armed men in SARS uniform. We were asked where we were going, we told them, they asked for our car particulars, we showed them, they asked us what we do for a living, we told them and even brought out our ID cards and complimentary card.
They searched our car and found nothing, one of them just said, “you will have to follow us to the station” I tried as much as possible to be very calm all along but got pissed when I heard “you will need to follow us to the station” so I asked what our offense was, that warranted we following you to the station?
They got angry and cocked their guns, saying “look at this Ashewo, asking us stupid question, I will hit you with this gun now, one of them was so close to me to hit me with the gun when my husband calmly asked them what they want so that we can go in Peace and have fun (Mind you, they were very aggressive when asking us question).
But immediately my husband said, what do you want, they started smiling and making unnecessary gestures of gentlemen, they requested for 100k from my husband which he declined but they later agreed to collect 40k from him, they followed him to the ATM and collected the money.
How SARS beat my friends and I in ado at night
I am a graduate of Ekiti State University, from the department of microbiology. I came down to Ekiti to run my clearance. My friend and I just got done at a bar and on the way driving my friend home to Iworoko, then we were stopped by the members of SARS operatives before NNPC.
The first one asked where I was coming from and going to and I told him and then he said I could go, as I tried driving away, the second officer ran Down and used his gun to break my windscreen. I parked and got down to question them but they were all drunk.
I caught them on video and as one of them saw me making the video he attacked me and then the remaining officers followed suit. Beat my friends and rushed me also. Hitting me with guns and slaps and kicks. I managed to escape, they drove my car to their headquarters and drove my friends away too and detained them, molested them while detained.
If not for the multiple calls I made to higher authorities probably it would have been worse. I have all these on tape and video with solid proof. This incident caused me to suffer from PTSD ever since. One thing I just require is to have those five officers in the same room with me and let me express my full anger on them.
It’s because of their guns that made me not to fight that night. The OC SARS during that period was MARCUS. This happened in March this year. In the files below is a screenshot from the videos I made that night, my windscreen and one of the sars Officers
Police officers arrested me for looking like a suspect
I was arrested last year in October on my way to work by police officers saying I look like a suspect they’re looking for.
That day, they picked me up in front of a client’s office after I just finished getting my workers started, my luck was that I was on a call when they picked me and I was just taking legal knowledge and strength when they took me to Alagbon police station at falomo and they forced me to unlock my phones and went through my apps and contact.
After their fruitless search, they bugged my phone right in my present and forced me into their car and they let me go after they signed an undertaking on my behalf that I’ll be bailed with 100,000 and let me go saying that I should count myself lucky cause they’re in a good mood if not I’d have stayed there till they’re ready to let me go.
Awkuzu: The capital of Pain, Torture, and Death
The clamour to #EndSARS did not start today. Anambra State in South Eastern Nigeria has had a great share of its escapades and brutalities.
There’s been cases of death, denial, torture to admit what one did not partake in, and a whole lots more.
I live in UK I always visit Nigeria twice a year, I got flagged down by sars because I’m driving a nice car.
They demanded to search my phone saying governor Obiano told them to do so. I refused and the man said I have to follow them to the station. I asked the man if I’m under arrest and I demand to know the charges or I’m not going anywhere.
On my next visit I was flagged down again to my greatest surprise the took offense because I asked him ( how can I help you officer) he started shouting “you are mad, do I look like I’m lost?”
Why SARS should end
Because it is controlled by a government that massacred peaceful protesters just because they asked them to end police brutality.
After doing so,
- The government all denied it and called it fake news, even when there is evidence everywhere.
- They sent hoodlums to attack peaceful protesters.
- They proceeded to hide the bodies of these innocent people.
- The palliatives that were supposed to be shared for covid 19 were hidden for 6 months in MOST states.
Amongst other atrocities committed to innocent people so, endsars.
How A Mobile Police Man Paralysed Me
On the 27th of January, 2013 a Mobile Police officer shot me at a burial site, resulting in paralysis as a result of spinal cord injury. As if this was not enough, a year later, the same police authority insulted my condition of relegating me to a wheelchair by reinstating the criminal police officer, Yusuf Mamman, who shot me back to the police force after all deceits of disciplinary action taken by the Force headquarters, including outright dismissal.
It’s been 7yrs now, I have had medical treatment both home and abroad yet no kobo has been paid as compensation to me by the police authority even after being compelled by the National Assembly to pay all my medical bills and rightfully compensate me for ruining my life. The police DIG welfare, DIG medical and other concerned top officers of the police authority have over the years been tussling us on this particular issue.
They have refused to oblige to the prayers of the National Assembly. I was at the police headquarters in August this year and the police DIG in charge of Medical out rightly came out to tell me that I should refer to the Federal Government of Nigeria for a refund of my medical treatment fee and other compensation, this is despite the fact that after my ruling at the National Assembly appropriate provision was made for my compensation and others in the police budget.
They have systematically sidelined me over the years despite my plea and all effort put in place. I want to take this opportunity, especially at this period of #Endsars protest to please appeal to all concerned to voice out my case and compel the police authority to do the needful. Thank you all!
SARS Almost Killed Me
In August 2019, as a final year student in one of the universities in Rivers State, I attended a professional conference, on my way back home, I got flagged down by a SARS man, I was driving in the company of two friends, he asked for vehicle license, I gave it to him, he asked to search the trunk, I opened it for him, he saw my laptop that I’m using for project work, immediately he accused me of being an internet fraudster.
In a bid to defend myself, he said I was rude to him, he asked to take my phone, I refused, he then said I should follow him to the station, I felt I’d be safe there, so I followed him, my friend was smart enough to send an SOS message while we were on our way to the station.
When we got to the station, he became violent, asking me to write a false statement and when I refused, he cocked his gun and fired to the air twice and said to me that the next bullet coming out from his gun must definitely hit me.
In the process, help came, that was how I got free. #endsars
Legal Armed Robbers in Uniform
These people who claim to be our protectors are just armed robbers in uniform. They envy the youth because of their resourcefulness and then harass us and extort us of our hard-earned money.
I cried my eyes out today when I saw the army shooting live bullets at armless protesters and kept on shooting. This whole thing started from the top and their evil and dirty ways.. today I watched a man struggle to live with a bullet in the leg and died.
A lady going into a panic attack due to the fact she witnessed a person killed. The strategic plan they used to kill we civilians by first coming to remove all cctv and putting off all the lights.. it was a massacre. My hands are shaking and my whole body is vibrating.. my heart aches and I cry every day because we have a president but it’s as if he is not there. Endsars
#Endsars: How SARS harassed me and labeled me a Yahoo Boy
On my going back to school from Ibadan to Zaria, at some point during our journey we met 5 SARS officials parked along the road. the officials stopped our car and asked the driver to come out and open the door.
When the driver opened the door I was asleep, one of the officials asked a woman sitting beside me to wake me up when she did the officials asked only me to come out! I was very scared as I don’t know who these people are I even forgot to check their badge because of how confused and scared I was.
They started asking me questions like where am I from where am I going? What’s my job I gave them the answers they needed to hear. But then these people asked for my phone I gave them they checked my phone but then they saw a picture of Ariana Grande they were like who is this? Na she be your client ba? I was so confused like wtf! You don’t know Ariana Grande? Then I told hem them she is a celebrity.
These people didn’t believe, they told me to get inside their car! Oh God I was so scared and nervous I begged them “Officer pls I be student, I don’t know what you are talking about” but those fools wasted my time because I spent more than an hour with them.
The driver almost left me. The driver had to plead to them and tell them that we still have a long way to go before they left me! #EndSars
How sars collected the money needed to treat my Mom
On the 31st of September when I received my salary, I was on my way to Union bank to withdraw the remaining balance needed to rush my sick mom to the hospital, I tried all I could so I don’t get spotted by these criminals called sars but all was in vain as it seems they are everywhere.
I got hooked on my trousers and was like where is your phone? I gave them the little phone I had with me and they argued and slapped me that I’m joking with them. I was still on my word that I had no other phone so they had to search me and in the process, brought out my salary with a bullet which I believe the sars operative that searched me was holding in his hands before putting hands into my pocket.
The story changed! They had to carry me. I pleaded ok that I’ll withdraw all the money in my account for a bailout. They had pos with them they had to do it themselves that’s how they collected my salary of #15000 and #4000 remaining in my account and the little phone I had on me. #endsars
I and my family was brutalized by policemen of A division
I was standing in front of my compound videoing the policemen of A division Asaba chase away endsars protesters and shooting at them straight and not on the air.
One of the policemen suddenly shouted out to me to give him my phone and rushed me, I tried showing him my ID card that I was a corper but he snatched my iphone from me and slapped me, that was when my family rushed out to my intervention and to my greatest shock one of the policemen slapped my mom and stripped her naked in front of the road and used teargas on me and my sister.
This just happened less than an hour just by union bank along nnebisi road. The DPO of the command was in their midst. #Endpolicebrutality #endsars
11 OCTOBER 2017
My name is Sanwiyu Abolanle, it was a great memory to remember this day 01/11/2017 when I found myself in a big mess with the SARS of Imagbon Abeokuta where I was arrested for a murder case I know nothing about
But thank God for sparing my life because there was a lot of killings during the time I was detained and locked up in a cell for a month and 17 days before the truth came out and I was bailed out but other people were charged to court and they were remanded in the prison till date
I feel bad because we have almost 300 peoples locked up there and some of them are innocent of the case accused them of, please let us unite and make a change in our country by supporting each Other and make us one nation. ENDSARS
How SARS Demanded 200k For kissing In A Car.
My boyfriend and I were waiting for his brother in Surulere stadium on a weekday after work around 7:30 pm in his car. We got carried away kissing (nothing more than that) and the SARS came and started banging the door with guns and torchlight.
Thank God he quickly called his brother in case anything happens cos we weren’t sure who they are at first. We came down and they got into the driver’s side while he was with them, they took me in their own small yellow bus and started calling me ashawo and so on. We got to the station on the stadium bustop. I couldn’t see my boyfriend again.
The man who is interrogating me told me to write statements, as I wrote what he said…he will dictate what I’ll write and I should comply or he’ll slap me. His statement was he caught us having sex in the car when I knew it was against the law. I said sir, we weren’t having sex and obviously didn’t know having a passionate kiss is a crime in a car that is packed write in the center of a car park where there’s light and activities is a crime.
He said I’m speaking English I should write what he said. I had to. He collected my phone and started searching my bag. Took some money and said he’ll return it when they release me. All that time I didn’t know where my boyfriend was ‘Cos where the man took me was a dark abandoned boys quarters.
He said he wants to search me if I have any other phones with me cos I’m going into a cell. He was about fondling my breast and I asked oga what are you doing. At that time he was called by the other SARS who brought us in. That’s when I saw my boyfriend. Thankfully his brother came after he had been going to different stations until he found us.
He bribed his way in cos they told him we weren’t there. He insisted and settled them until they let him see us. They demanded for 200k but we ended up paying 50k cos that’s all we had on us.
Those who learnt about this experience said we were lucky. If we hadn’t called anyone they will make sure we look for 200k if we didn’t they might kill us and no one will know. Please #Endsars #Policeillegalarrest.
2019 SARS Robbed Me At Airport Road in Lagos
Coming back from Uganda where I went for my masters program, the airport Taxi driver took me to the gas station and ask me to wait for him. This guy just came, took over the car, and took me to a street I don’t know and collected the last $500 I had, left.
I just want to say thanks to Nigeria who have come out for this fight. God will bless us all
Endsars: Awkuzu and Abba Kyari of Sars Lagos
In the course of the over three decades of my activism and advocacy for Police Reform, I have waged vigorous campaigns against police brutality, intervening in numerous specific cases, especially atrocities committed by the now-disbanded Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) across the country.
I have documented numerous cases of SARS atrocity under successive Inspectors General of Police who appeared to be helpless in addressing them until the recent mass protests elicited the rare decisive actions we are witnessing today. Nothing new has happened with regards to the enormity of the crimes and abuses committed by SARS and other tactical squads, as well as the regular units of the police.
Petitions have been written to police authorities and reports published about specific cases in the media. Yet, no serious action was ever taken except, at best, when a particular case attracted public attention and outrage, and police authorities make arrests, announce the dismissal of a few officers and hand them over for prosecution. It is usually not clear how most of such cases ended. Some promises of reforms are also made and before long, we return to business as usual.
In many cases where the courts have ordered the police to pay compensations to victims of extrajudicial killing, the Police do not comply with these orders. Sometimes, police officers shield police officers wanted by justice. In one case where a bench warrant was issued for the arrest of a DPO in Enugu for him to be produced to answer to a case of kidnapping and murder, the police said they did not know his whereabouts.
About four years later, the same DPO was sighted at Zone 9, Police Headquarters, Umuahia in the Provost Office, ironically. Still, nothing happened even when alarm was raised. Also, a DPO raped a female suspect in his custody in 2014. An investigation was ordered but the report of the investigation was not made public despite promises that it would. That senior officer has remained in service and even promoted.
Need I rehash the tragic case of the ‘Apo 6’ and the debauchery that attended it? So, impunity reigns! I commend the current IGP for his courage in responding to public demands to ban the notorious SARS and for rolling out further reform measures. But this was because the president authorized it. No IGP can act beyond the limit permitted by the President. This is the bane of professional policing in Nigeria.
Every IGP acts at the pleasure of the President. Nigeria is the only country in the world where the IGP is not the operational head of the Police. Because the IGP lacks operational autonomy and security of tenure, he is unable to do long term visioning and planning.
He is constantly battling with the fear that he can be removed at any moment – even through a tweet- by the President who appointed him, singlehandedly- because the governors fail to play their part as members of the Police Council as provided for in the Constitution.
Until we amend the Constitution and restore operational control of the police to the IGP, guarantee his security of tenure and operational autonomy; until he can act without being afraid to offend the Presidency or other influential actors who can manipulate the president and get kicked out, no IGP, no matter how reform-minded he may be, can perform effectively or act professionally.
I learned of the several attempts by IGP Solomon Arase to remove James Nwafor over numerous complaints about his bloodthirsty reign at Awkuzu SARS. I also know how Arase’s initial attempt to remove Abba Kyari as OC SARS, Ikeja, Lagos was blocked by politically influential interests until he eventually created the IRT toward the end of his tenure and redeployed him to head it.
The police must be insulated from partisan interference and political control for professionalism to take root. Of all the SARS bases in the country, the most outstandingly notorious was SARS Awkuzu Anambra State. The impunity exhibited by operatives of SARS Awkuzu was at its peak under the blood-thirsty reign of CSP James Nwafor.
Until recently, SARS, Lagos State Police Command was the next in notoriety. SARS Lagos was until the exit of Abba Kyari as O/C, another human ‘abattoir’ where human dignity was debased, human lives willfully, senselessly and gratuitously terminated through brutality, torture and summary executions and freedom traded for the monetary benefits of the unscrupulous operatives.
Petitions, reports and repeated calls made for an investigation into the criminal and unlawful activities of CSP James Nwafor (O/C SARS) and his allies, especially, allegations of framing up people with serious allegations, labeling and parading ‘suspects’ publicly as kidnappers or armed robbers, demanding huge sums of money as bribe for bail, the rampant and gratuitous use of torture to punish detainees or force them to ‘confess’, and summary executions and disappearances of detainees, were ignored.
In my time as National Coordinator, Network on Police Reform in Nigeria (NOPRIN), I wrote several petitions to police authorities at the Force Headquarters and to state Command Commissioner of Police, as well as to police services commission and national human rights commission, seeking investigation of allegations of arbitrary arrest, unlawful detentions, torture, extortion, extrajudicial killing or enforced disappearance of victims with a view to ensuring accountability for perpetrators and justice for victims.
With regards to Awkuzu SARS, one of my petition was one dated May 6, 2015 addressed to the Acting Inspector General of Police Mr. Solomon Arase captioned ‘The Continued Unlawful Detention And Disappearance of Chinagorom Ihejiagwa by James Nwafor (CSP), O/C SARS Awkuzu Anambra State And Flagrant Disobedience to Court Orders to Produce the Accused in Court: A Call to rid the Police of Lawless and Murderous Elements.
In that petition, I urged the IGP to take urgent action in the case of one Chinagorom Ihejiagwa who was arrested by Awkuzu SARS operatives in May 2014 and detained incommunicado in flagrant disregard of two court orders for his production before the Court. Chinagorom was a 31-year-old businessman running a wine shop at Triple M Plaza, Asaba Delta state as at the time he was arrested sometime in June 2014.
His wife, Ifeyinwa Ihejiagwa, who was then nursing a one-month-old baby, was also arrested on Thursday May 29, 2014 by operatives of SARS, Awkuzu, Anambra State. They were arrested between 4 and 6pm by police officers, one of whom was identified only by his pseudonym ‘Pele’. Chinagorom was the first to be arrested and taken away without being informed of his offence or the reason for his arrest.
His wife was arrested about two hours later at the same shop when she came to find out from neighbours at the Plaza why her husband was arrested. Chinagorom’s wife was detained till the next day and she reported that she was ‘physically and emotionally molested’ including being slapped by one of the officers.
As at the date of the petition to the IGP, Chinagorom had spent twelve months in the custody of SARS without being charged to Court or granted bail. Repeated requests by his family members and legal representatives to see him were refused by the O/C SARS, CSP James Nwafor.
Chinagorom’s younger brother, Callistus Ihejiagwa, a lawyer, quoted the O/C SARS Mr. James Nwafor as telling him that ‘we will kill him because he is a confessed kidnapper’. Chinagorom had been tortured to make ‘confessions’, as was the common practice at SARS.
According to his family, ‘Pele’ had called Chinagorom several times prior to his arrest and accused him of buying a stolen vehicle and was demanding that he should bring his ‘own share’. Chinagorom denied buying any stolen vehicle and told him he had nothing to give to him.
It was after several unsuccessful efforts by ‘Pele’ to extract his “share’ from Chinagorom of what he claimed to be financial proceeds of crime that he masterminded his arrest and detention, and then labeled him a ‘kidnapper’, a usual practice in SARS.
The O/C SARS, CSP James Nwafor continued, in his characteristic contemptuous disposition, to disregard court orders directing the police to either release Chinagorom on bail or produce him before a court for trial to determine his guilt or innocence in accordance with due process. An Anambra State High Court on 30th June, 2014 ordered the police to grant him bail or produce him before the Court within 7 days.
In its final Judgment on 27th November, 2014 on the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Action filed on behalf of the victim, the same Court ordered the Anambra State Commissioner of Police and in particular, the O/C SARS, Awkuzu, Anambra State to release Chinagorom Ihejiagwa on bail or bring him before the Court. The Court declared illegal and unconstitutional, the continued indefinite detention of the victim.
However, the O/C SARS said the court orders had no meaning, because, as he claimed, a non-existent Anambra State law permitted the police to disregard court orders. Prior to the assumption of office by IGP Solomon Arase, I had addressed a petition dated June 12, 2014 to the then Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mr. M. D. Abubakar concerning this same case and numerous other disturbing complaints of gross abuse of human rights, misuse of police powers, breach of legally established procedures for arrests and detention and flagrant disobedience to Court Orders by police officers at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Awkuzu Anambra State under the supervision of CSP Nwafor James (O.C. SARS). I received no reply and was not aware of any action taken in response to my petition. Before MD Abubakar,
I addressed a petition to his successor and IGP Arase’s immediate predecessor, IGP Abba Suleiman on this same case, calling on him to take urgent and decisive actions to check the excesses of CSP James Nwafor and to bring an end to the brutality, gross misconduct, corrupt activities and impunity at SARS Awkuzu.
There was also no reply. My petition to Arase was thus, my third petition to three successive IGPs over the excesses of the same man running the human abattoir. Arase is one of the brightest and most reform minded IGP’s the NPF has had and I brought this same case to his attention in his time in my belief that he would address it promptly and impartially and ensure that the CP Anambra, and in particular, the O/C SARA, Mr. James Nwafor complied with the orders of Court without further delay.
I am aware of the many steps taken by Arase to remove James Nwafor as OC SARS Awkuzu but Arase’s efforts were met with interference by politician and influential businessmen in Anambra State. James Nwafor was eventually removed at the twilight of Arase’s tenure but was never brought to account. James Nwafor was rejected at every state command he went to owing to his blood stained record.
This is the time to bring him to account- to reassure his numerous victims and demonstrate that impunity would no longer be tolerated in the new Nigeria Police of our dream. After James Nwafor left Awkuzu SARS, his legacy of cruelty and brutality remained intact. This next story illustrates this.
How Miracle was miraculously rescued from death from starvation at SARS In April 2017, while I was still at NOPRIN, I received a complaint from Treasure Chinonye Okpara an Imo State indigene but resident in Abuja concerning the disappearance of her younger brother Miracle Ifeanyichukwu Okpara who was eventually found at SARS Awkuzu, Anambra State after several months of his whereabouts being unknown to his family.
Miracle’s sister, Treasure informed me that sometime in January 2017, while Miracle was travelling from Lagos to Nnewi where his parents reside, he stopped over at one of his Aunt’s house in Onitsha, Anambra state (three of his Aunt’s live in Onitsha). He was arrested by police officers and his whereabouts remained unknown.
Three months later, sometime in March 2017, a boy who had just been released from Awkuzu SARS called Treasure’s elder sister on phone and informed her that he had just been released from the custody of SARS, Awkuzu Anambra state and that her brother Miracle (who was his fellow inmate) gave him her number to call her and inform her that he was in custody at Awkuzu SARS.
Miracle’s elder sister quickly gave the boy the direction to their house and he came crying and informed them that their brother, Miracle had been with him in cell at Neni SARS (after he was transferred from Awkuzu) and that he was going through serious torture and suffering at SARS. He told them that Miracle said he was arrested over a laptop and that he had nothing to do with the allegation.
He further told them that Miracle was transferred from SARS Awkuzu to SARS Neni and kept in an Underground cell and that was where he met Miracle. He said Miracle was shot on his right leg during interrogation and the wound was already festering before he was brought to Neni SARS and he had not been given any medical treatment for the wound.
He made the startling revelation that nine other boys were brought to the cell at Neni along with Miracle, and seven were already dead. He, Miracle and one other were the only survivors of 10 young men detained at SARS Awkuzu. He told them that Miracle was seriously sick and in need of urgent medical attention. He gave the number of one of the police officers involved as: 08039441848; and their leader’s number as 08060630721.
She said when their mother called one of the numbers, the officer who answered asked her to come to Awkuzu, but when she reached the station, the officer did not show up but instead, threatened her on phone that he would deal with her if he met her in the office. Her mother presented Miracle’s photograph to the officers at the station for them to identify and confirm that he was the same boy they had in their custody, but they told her that the person in the photograph was not in their custody.
Action taken When I heard these mindboggling details, I quickly called the OC SARS Mr. Sunday Okpe (James Nwafor’s 2i/c and immediate successor) and inquired about the case. He said he didn’t know about it but said he would inquire and revert. He never reverted and I called him again the next day and he replied that Miracle was ‘a confirmed armed robber’; and that they had evidence. I asked him how long Miracle had been in custody and when they will charge him to court; he said he would inform me.
He did not respond to further inquiries. I contacted and requested my colleague, Justus Ijeomah, an activist based in Anambra State to go and see the OC SARS concerning the case. Justus went with Miracle’s mother and saw the OC Mr Okpe and he asked them to come back the next day. The next day, Justus and Miracle’s mother went back and the OC brought Miracle out and asked his mother if that was her son and she confirmed that he was her son. The OC did not allow them to speak with Miracle or to ask him any question and quickly returned him to the cell.
Miracle’s mother told me that Mr. Okpe later rebuked her for giving false information to ‘human rights people’ about the case. He promised to call Justus and I to inform us about the next step they would take. However, without contacting anybody, the OC charged Miracle to a Magistrate’s Court for armed robbery and he was remanded in prison.
On account of Miracle’s troubling condition when her mother and Justus saw him, and the fact that 9 other boys who were detained along with him had been severely tortured and died due to life-threatening detention conditions, Justus and I decided to bring Amnesty International into the case so as to escalate the campaign for justice for Miracle and the families of the 9 others.
Justus visited Miracle in prison to interview him and possibly locate the relatives of the other 9 deceased victims. I later went to Awka and Justus and I also interviewed the OC SARS in Awka. Summary of Miracle’s account after his interview with Justus Ijeoma Miracle Ifeanyichukwu Okpara was 23 years old as at the date of interview and lives in Otoko in Awkuzu, Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Reason for his arrest: Miracle said he was accused of stealing a laptop. He was arrested at about 6:30pm on the 13th February, 2017 at Otoko, Ezinkwo Awkuzu and taken to Awkuzu SARS. The arresting police officers searched him and collected the sum of fifteen thousand naira (N15, 400.00) he had in his pocket and also collected his wrist watch, necklace and phone (Camo 8 Tecno).
Interrogation The Admin officer directed police officers to go and hang him. They took him to the back of a hall within the station and tied him with ropes. They tied his hands to the back; tied his two legs and then joined the ropes in the hands and the legs to the back causing his chest to protrude. They have two prepared iron stands where they hang people.
They crossed an iron rod through the ropes and then lifted him up by the rod and hung him on the iron stands. Then they started using all manner of objects to beat him, including machetes and sticks, inflicting injuries all over his body. One of the officers (identified as Simeon) used an exhaust pipe to hit him on his teeth and broke some of his teeth. He was left hanging under excruciating pains for more than three hours.
He was shouting until he started vomiting blood. Then one other officer, identified as Agaba asked that he be brought down saying he did not want to hear his screams again. When officer Agaba left, his torturers came and squeezed a handkerchief into his mouth and tied it with a rope. He remained in that state for more than two hours and then began to suffocate and lose consciousness.
When Officer Simeon saw that he was losing consciousness, he went and informed the team leader identified as Aghaogu (also known as 2i/c) who came and ordered that he be brought down. They brought him down and dumped him in the interrogation hall. Then Officer Simeon brought a phone and asked him if he was the owner of the phone. He told him it’s his and that it was among the things collected from him by the officers including some money he had in his pocket.
Then the officer removed the two SIM cards and destroyed them and put the phone into his drawer, informing him that it was an exhibit. The 2i/c then came and asked the officers to take him to cell 5, which is the worst cell in Awkuzu SARS. Those in cell 5 hardly eat or drink water. The next morning, they brought him out of the cell and took him to Onitsha and forced him to lead them to where he sells phones and laptops.
In Onitsha (Emeka Offor Plaza), they arrested about four persons randomly, claiming that they bought things from him whereas he had never met any of those persons in all his life. They also took him to his Aunt’s house in Onitsha and arrested her son. When they returned to the station, they took him back to the place where they had hung him the previous day, threatening to hang him again since he didn’t want to confess.
Then one officer, Peter Emiator, took a 2×2 wood and started hitting him on his two legs threatening to cripple him since he seemed to be strong-willed. He inflicted on him several injuries, some of which the scars were still visible. At that point the 2i/c took Simeon to one corner and conferred with him. Then Simeon turned, grabbed a gun, aimed it at Miracle’s legs and shot him on the right leg.
One officer, whose name he didn’t find out, started reprimanding the officer asking why they would shoot him. He started bleeding from the injury. Simeon told him that he should not worry, that they would treat him. Then they took a singlet from one of the inmates and tied the bullet injury and took him back to cell 5. The owner of the singlet was also severely tortured, also shot on the leg and dumped in the cell without any medical treatment. He died the following morning as a result of the torture.
The following day a complainant was brought and they brought Miracle out and asked him in the presence of the complainant about the laptop. Miracle told them that he did not know anything about the laptop. The complainant left and Miracle was taken back to the cell. That was the last time he heard from the complainant and he did not visit again, but he remained in the cell from February 13, 2017 to March 17, 2017.
He and other inmates suffered starvation and only ate when some Reverend Sisters brought some food for them usually on Thursdays and Saturdays or when the family members of any of the inmates brought food for the detainee.
On March 17, there was a rumour that ‘human rights people’ were visiting the station (Awkuzu SARS). Then the police brought 10 of them out, put them in a bus and took them to their cell at Neni. At Neni, the Commander told them to remove their boxers, which were the only things they had on. They were rendered completely naked and the commander ordered his men to take them to Cell 1 which, according to them is the ‘condemned cell’.
They passed through two passages and then went through the 3rd one which leads into the dark, dingy cell. After sometime, the commander came and addressed them asking them to relax, promising that he would talk to their OC at Awkuzu to permit them to be giving them water to drink. He also assured them that the Awkuzu people would usually bring people there at Neni but after sometime they would carry the suspects back.
They relaxed, believing that the Commander would be humane to them. He told them that he was going to Awkuzu to solicit on their behalf. They waited for two days without any food or water. Then some of them started shouting from the cell, calling for water. Some of them started urinating and drinking their urine. One of the officers at Neni (nicknamed ‘Too-much-money’) came to them and admonished them to save their strength because they had a long way to go.
Because of this ‘admonition’ they started to shout louder, telling them that it is better for them to shoot and kill them than to starve them to death. The police told them that they would watch them die one after another. When they continued shouting and asking for water, the officers came and sprayed teargas into their cell. They continued crying.
Then, the police removed their own suspects from other cells and took them behind the center and then brought a different type of teargas- powdery teargas; tied it to a wrapper and released it to them. They locked the passage gate, leaving them to choke to death. It was unbearably suffocating. All of the inmates collapsed. Some were foaming from the mouth. He was the only one conscious but the effect of the gas was causing his neck to bend and his two hands to twist.
They were in that situation for three days. On the 3rd day they came to check whether we they were still alive. They were still breathing but the teargas had almost dried all the fluid in their system, making them very weak. The police came and washed the cells of their own suspects and applied some substances after which they returned their suspects to their cells. Those of them brought from Awkuzu continued begging the officers to give them some water but they refused and told them that they would watch them die one after another.
Some of them who had money hidden inside their removed boxers begged them to go and collect the money and buy water for them. Then the Station Officer came and asked them whether they came to the world with any cloth and they answered ‘No’! He asked them again if they would go with any cloth when they are departing this world, they answered ‘No.’! He then left without saying any further word to them. That was the end of any conversation with the officers.
It was then they realized that they had been sentenced to death. After that week, one of the inmates, Ifeanyi, was released and they remained nine (9) in the cell. Before the end of that 2nd week, four of them (Okechukwu, Uchenna, Uchechukwu and Chinedu) died. Their dead bodies remained with the other inmates in the cell until the next day before the police came and evacuated them.
The 3rd week, three other persons (Ngirima, Victor Azubuike and Ojoto) died. Each of them that died was left in the cell till the next day before it was evacuated, except Ojoto, whose remains were left for three days before being evacuated. The corpse had decomposed in the cell before it was removed. While the police were removing Ojoto’s decomposed corpse, Miracle heard them saying, ‘this one has decayed, there is no need taking it to Awkuzu, let’s bury the corpse here’.
He managed with the little energy left in him to stretch and peep through the tiny window and saw the police burying the corpse beside the soak away pit at the back of their station. On Easter Sunday one of the officers came to attend to their own suspects in their cells. He promised that their commander will ‘do Easter for us’. But nothing was given to them. Very early the following morning on Easter Monday, while he was praying, he heard Tochukwu take his last breath. By daybreak, they called the police to come and carry his corpse.
Meanwhile, before Tochukwu died the police brought in two new suspects (Ifeanyi Mba and Ekene Nwoke) from Awkuzu into their cell bringing them to four in the cell. Ifeanyi and Ekene were crying when Tochukwu died. Miracle was consoling them. Awkuzu people came and carried the corpse.
A week after Tochukwu died, they were preparing to bail Ifeanyi Obiorah, a native of Nanka, one of the suspects of Neni SARS. Miracle secretly gave him the contact of his sister and the direction to their house in Nnewi. When Ifeanyi was released he went to Miracle’s house and informed his people. Then his people contacted Mr. Nwanguma of NOPRIN. Mr. Nwanguma immediately contacted the OC SARS and later an activist based in Onitsha, Justin Ijeomah who went to Awkuzu and asked about Miracle.
The OC SARS called the Station Officer in Neni who was behind Miracle’s cell answering the call. The OC was reprimanding them for allowing the inmates to survive. Miracle overheard their conversation because the SO’s phone was on external speaker. The OC at Awkuzu accused the Station Officer at Neni of giving food to the inmates which enabled them survive. The SO denied the accusation. Then the SO and his men came to the cell of their own Neni suspects and brought all of them out and flogged them for allegedly giving food to the inmates from Awkuzu.
The officers were particularly mad at Miracle. They came to the cell and searched everywhere for any writing material or phone with which Miracle could have communicated to the outside world. They didn’t see anything. They threatened to bring Miracle out and ‘finish’ him. On Monday 24th April, 2017 at about 9:30pm they came to Neni and carried Miracle back to Awkuzu. The following day, Tuesday he was brought before the OC SARS, the OC asked him if he was Miracle Ifeanyichukwu Okpara, and he said ‘Yes.’
The OC openly expressed shock that he survived at Neni. He was surprised and told his men that his name is really following him. The OC then asked him whether he has eaten anything and he said he had not. He asked him what he would want to eat and he told him he wanted anything liquid as he was finding it very difficult to swallow. He asked them to go and buy him tea and bread.
They brought him out on Wednesday for his mother and Justin Ijeoma to see him. The following day they took him to a Magistrate’s Court at Nteje. There was no complainant, no witness. The Court awarded a cost of 40,000.00 against the police. There was no legal representation for him. There was no treatment for him. They did not at any time take him to any hospital. The matter was adjourned to 22nd July and the Magistrate told him that he has referred the matter to the High Court.
They charged him with armed robbery. Meeting with OC SARS On August 10, 2017, Mr. Okechukwu Nwanguma, accompanied by Justus Ijeoma met with the OC SARS, Awkuzu. The OC SARS apologized for not reverting to Justus Ijeomah after his last visit to the station (accompanied by Miracle’s mother) despite his promise during that first visit to revert with next step to be taken by the police. He also apologised for not informing Mr. Nwanguma and/or Miracle’s family or representatives before charging him to court. This would have enabled him prepare for defence.
However, he said he was under pressure from two sides: from the ‘human rights people’ and from another unnamed source and that the only option he was left with if he was not to be seen by either side as having compromised was to charge Miracle to court.
SARS LAGOS STATE POLICE COMMAND
Just as with the case of James Nwafor, IGP Arase’s initial attempt to redeploy Abba Kyari as O/C SARS, Ikeja due to rampant complaints of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of detainees was also resisted by political and business interests. But towards the end of Arase’s tenure, he eventually created the IRT at the Force Headquarters and redeployed Abba to head it.
One of the cases that discredited SARS Ikeja under Abba Kyari was the case of arrest, indefinite and incommunicado detention and disappearance of Afam. Afam, a Lagos resident, was arrested in Lagos on Friday January 17, 2015 by officers from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Ikeja, Lagos and detained incommunicado. His family members as well as lawyers were denied access to him by the detaining authorities.
According to his family members, the SARS operatives first trailed, double-crossed and arrested his two elder sisters, assaulted them without any provocation or justification, seized their phones, forced them into their vehicle and asked them to lead them to their brother.
None of the two women had any prior information or invitation from the police concerning any crime that their brother may have committed or any other reason for looking for him. The two women, who by this time had become traumatized, took the police officers to a hospital in Ikorodu, Lagos where their brother had gone for a surgery the previous day.
One of the police officers, Abdurrahman (08062080913) later told the women that their brother was wanted for being in possession of four AK47 rifles belonging to the police. The two women found this claim incredible because their brother has been very close to them and had never, to their knowledge, been involved in any crime.
About two weeks after Afam’s arrest, his family members, to their utter shock, read a report in some newspapers, including SATURDAY INDEPENDENT of January 31, 2015, p. 9 claiming that the accused is an informant to a kidnap gang which allegedly kidnapped two prominent oil dealers in Lagos.
The family members said they were perplexed because the initial information the police gave them was that their brother was wanted allegedly for being in possession of four AK 47 rifles belonging to the police. The allegation published in newspapers that their brother was involved in kidnapping and that he confessed during interrogation at SARS contradicted this new allegation.
Afam Nriezedi’s family members were never allowed, despite several efforts, to see him and ask him some questions and hear his response to the allegation leveled against him. They remained in doubt of the allegation by the police because they were never aware of their brother’s involvement in any criminal act, let alone one involving the use of firearms.
They were also worried because they knew that, for numerous reasons, SARS operatives usually torture innocent people to ‘confess’ to crimes they did not confess. Action Taken Upon receiving this complaint on April 27, 2015, I called the O/C SARS, Ikeja, Mr. Abba Kyari and inquired from him about it. The O/C SARS replied thus through a text message: ‘My brother, he is a member of a kidnapping gang that kidnapped Mr. Ademola owner of Dapsy Oil and Alh Fashola owner of Kings Oil.
The arrest of Afam, Chukwube, Kelvin and etc was celebrated all over the newspapers and television stations. We are still making serious efforts to arrest Ikechukwu and two others before they will form new gang to kidnapping innocent citizens again. Thanks’ I then inquired from the O/C SARS about the whereabouts of the accused, but got no further reply.
However, the IPO, Abdurrahman later sent me a text message through 08062080913 and said ‘Is a transfer case Sir’.
In further effort to ascertain from sources at the Force Headquarters, Abuja if and where in ‘Abuja’ the case may have been ‘transferred to’ as claimed by SARS Ikeja, I called the then Principal Staff Officer to the IGP, Mr. Austin Ewa (CP) now AIG retired, narrated the incident to him and requested him to assist us with inquiry to locate where the case/suspect may be in Abuja, which he promised to do.
Subsequent efforts to reach back to the PSO for feedback did not yield any success. A New Twist Curiously, on Sunday May 3, 2015 one Prophet David Babalola a self-styled General Overseer of His Presence Redemption Ministry, Ogba called one of the accused person’s sisters, Ngozi who worships in his church and informed her that some police officers from Abuja had come to Lagos to pick up a file relating to the case from SARS Ikeja.
The ‘man of God’ told her that the officers would like to meet with any member of their family. Ngozi went to see the ‘man of God’ in his Church and he assigned one of his workers who took her to a hotel in Ikeja where she met a man who claimed to be police officer Patrick and who claimed that he was a member of the team from Abuja.
The said Police Officer Patrick asked Ngozi to write a statement stating that her brother, Afam, was arrested in a beer parlour with members of his gang and that she should not mention that her family had given any money to Prophet David Babalola to assist them in ‘settling’ Abuja and securing her brother’s release.
She said she could not write such a statement changing the facts of her brother’s case. Petition to IGP I wrote and drew IGP Arase’s attention to the fact that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria presumes any person arrested and detained for any alleged crime as innocent until proved otherwise after a fair trial before a competent court.
Any person detained for a crime is also entitled to be allowed access to family members, doctors and legal representatives. It is prejudicial to fair trial to try an accused person on the pages of newspapers without allowing the person the opportunity to appear before a court of competent jurisdiction to prove his innocence or otherwise.
I then requested the IGP to kindly direct the O/C SARS, Ikeja to grant the family of the detained person’s immediate access to him or disclose to them his whereabouts if he is no longer in the custody of SARS. I further requested the IGP to order a prompt, impartial and exhaustive investigation into this case, with a view to: Ascertaining the true identity of the ‘police officers’ who claimed to have come from Abuja and who wanted the sister to the accused person to make false statements rewriting the facts of the case.
Ascertaining the role of Apostle David Babalola (the General Overseer of His Presence Redemption Ministry, Ogba, Lagos), especially his involvement in brokering this curious meeting between the ‘police team from Abuja’ and the detainee’s family. Ascertain why the police officers chose to meet the detainee’s family in a hotel rather than at the police station.
Ascertain the information we received from the family that Prophet David Babalola had so far deceitfully and fraudulently obtained from them the sum of over five million naira (N5,000,000.00), ostensibly to assist them to ‘settle some top management police officers in Abuja’ and secure the release of the suspect. The Police did not resolve this case until Abba Kyari was moved to Abuja to head IRT and until Arase left office.
The family of the victim later consulted Agbakoba Chambers which went to court to enforce the fundamental rights of the victim. The courts awarded compensations which the police have failed to pay.
Endsars: Sexual Exploitation
In the course of my years of campaign and intervention in cases of police brutality, I came across cases where female detainees were sexually assaulted and raped but the victims preferred that such information be not disclosed. I respected their preferences. It was in Lagos in early 2015 that a 46-year-old man was arrested and detained in SARS, Ikeja Lagos after he was accused of robbery.
The IPO (trying to get the name) insisted that the only way to release the man from custody was for him to sleep with the wife of the suspect and her 17-year-old daughter, who were coming for his bail. The ladies resisted for a while but after two months and increasingly looking like their bread winner was going to die in custody, they buckled and gave in to the demand of the SARS officer.
To cut the story short, the SARS officer raped the wife and daughter of the man in his custody and shortly after still executed the suspect. I have recalled the foregoing- just a few of several cases I have been involved in- just to show that SARS atrocities are longstanding.
I have spent all my adult life exposing many atrocities even more chilling than the ones that triggered the ongoing protests. What is new is that our youth have finally found this voice. I am happy that this day has come.
The #ENDSARS campaign is not just about SARS. SARS is only a symptom and a manifestation of what is wrong with the Nigeria Police. What our youth are demanding for is not just an end to SARS. They are more importantly asking for accountability for perpetrators of police brutality, killing and violence and rogue behavior. They are asking for justice for the numerous victims, including apologies and adequate compensations.
They are asking for Police Reform, including addressing the factors and conditions that fuel police brutality: compromised recruitment process that enables misfits and rogue elements to find their way into the police and discredit the institution; grossly inadequate funding that is responsible for operational inefficiency and poor welfare conditions and fuels corruption.
Our youth and citizens are ultimately asking for good governance. We cannot have the police we deserve unless we have the government we desire. Police cannot be our friend when government is not our friend.
Finally, I welcome the decision reached between the federal government and state governors to inaugurate judicial panels of inquiry in all the states and the FCT to inquire into cases of human rights violations by SARS and other police units with a view to identifying the perpetrators and recommending appropriate disciplinary measures as well as recommending adequate compensations for the victims.
My organisation, RULAAC, will be sending petitions on behalf of some victims and will also represent some of the victims at the panels.
Okechukwu Nwanguma Executive Director Rule of Law And Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC) 08064974531
HOW POLICE ALMOST GOT ME BLIND
On this faithful evening, after the lockdown has been called off, I was going to Agbarha-Otor to see my grandmother.
I was using okada and when we got to the checkpoint, this particular police requested for #100 but the okada man said he hasn’t worked today that he was just coming out since morning that I was the first passenger so he should collect #50, that he’s not going far that he will return in the next thirty minutes.
But to my surprise the more the okada man was begging him it was as if he was pouring fuel on it. The policeman suddenly shouted at me come down from the bike and I told him why are you shouting at me as if I have done anything wrong.
Is it my fault that he doesn’t have money to give to you? The next thing I heard was a hot slap on my face from double end repeatedly and started pushing me to enter their small vehicle, and the worst thing was that I was even having eye issues, I couldn’t see clearly again.
The policeman started dragging me to enter the car, another of his colleague joined him. It was God’s grace that saved me that day if not I wouldn’t have known what would have happened to me by now. A man drove to the scene and almost driving away, reversed and came down started begging them to live me for than 40 minutes and they later agreed with him and they said “God don save me”.
The man asked me where I was going and I told him Agbarha and he told me to come in and carried me and we were going he showed his I.D, he was a police officer but I couldn’t figure out his rank. He categorically told me I should not mind them ooo that is how some of this police behave. In the case of next time, I should comply with them because some of them are drunkards and takes drugs and misbehave.
“if not they will kill you and lay allegation on your head that you are a criminal,” he said and I saw reason with him. It was a horrible experience for me that day.
#ENDSARS: THE DAY THE POLICE ALMOST ENDED MY LIFE
If not for God, the police would have made me an ex-convict or worse still, killed me for armed robbery.
In late 1997, the police carried out a raid in my area (Police raids in “ember” months in my area were a common occurrence. People are just picked up, their loved ones go and pay for their release and that night or the following morning they are back home).
So on this particular night, the police raided some guys into a Danfo bus. One of these guys was Akin, a popular bus-conductor and a friend, that just come off work with his daily pay. So he threw the money to me as he didn’t want the police to rob him of his hard-earned money. No sooner had he thrown it than one of the policemen began to shout “gun…gun…gun”. “Bring that gun”. “Produce that gun”. The place was well lit. Everyone could see clearly that it was cash. I stretched my hand so he could see it again. But he didn’t care.
I stood my ground that its money and not a gun. The policeman and I shouted back and forth for a minute or two when suddenly I saw myself flying up and landing hard on the floor. And then carried into their rented/hired/commandeered Danfo bus. It was on the bus that I was corrected by fellow raid victims that I was slapped and not raked (swooped off the floor with a fast kick).
I had asked who saw me raked from behind. This incident happened at our then house which was beside Broadway Hotel, Bank Bus Stop, Old Abeokuta Motor Road, Agege, Lagos State. Loaded into the bus and on our way to Area G Police Station, Ogba, where the policemen came from, they stopped to raid in more people. Akin, the bus conductor who threw money at me for safekeeping, quietly removed one of the window glasses and slide out of the vehicle. They police chased him but couldn’t catch him. So they returned back and that same policeman who had a shouting match with me said “oh no need to worry him brother dey here”.
Thinking I won’t let this policeman use this to extort more money from my parents and at the same time wanting to upped my ‘street credibility’ as the boy who rebuffed police intimidation, I quickly rejoined with “I no know him”. He said “no worry nah, when you reach the station you go talk, you go produce the gun”. I said “which gun? Nah money….nah the money be this”. It went back and forth for a while.
When we got to Area G Police Station, they lined us up. One of them pulled me out of the line and said “this one nah special case”. And immediately the officers that didn’t even follow them on the raid; that didn’t even know what transpired on the journey to the station, began to land slaps on me. I was beaten up. So severely that I began to say “I know him”. “He is my brother, my elder brother”. “Nah one-year e take senior me”. “Nah my papa pikin”. “Nah my mama pikin”. “Please, stop. I know him”.
Some fellow raid victims were released that night and some others were locked up inside some back office. And I was taken to the desk probably to be booked in. A section at the back of the desk was quickly ‘prepared’ for me. Some powder was sparingly sprayed on the floor. I had thought it was to wade off mosquitoes. But alas it was to torment my eyes and nostrils. Whatever that powder was I don’t know. I can only suspect it to be powdered tear-gas. So they left me there.
They went home. To continue with me the next day. They handed over duties to other officers who were the ones actually on night duties. But thank God for God. My mum went around from one police station to another that same night searching for me. Till she finally came to Area G Police Station. Just before my mum came in, one of the officers on night duty, was so drunk that he accidentally discharged a bullet between his leg and mine. Ah! Thank God for God.
I think this is what God used to save me from being tortured to make false confessions to carrying a gun or armed robbery. The drunk officer was quickly disarmed and escorted out of the desk area by a number of officers. So my mum came into just two officers at the desk. She was in the middle of saying “please ma, do your officers went on a raid tonight cos my son was picked up” when I quickly shouted, “mummy, I’m here”. The desk officer looked at her colleague who confirmed that some of the officers they relieved had carried out a raid that night.
As is their custom, they collected money from my mum and released me to her that night. It was when the rest of the victims that were picked up in my area came back home the following morning that I was told me how lucky I was. That the policemen that raided us were at the throat of the night officers for releasing an armed robbery suspect! Me, a teenager at the time, an armed robbery suspect?
Again, I thank God. What fate could have befallen me the next morning, if my mum hadn’t been lucky to extend her search for me to Area G Police Station THAT NIGHT? What could have been my fate? I just bless the name of the Lord. —JP Adewale Azeez Soremekun #ENDSARS #ENDPOLICEBRUTALITY #REFORMNIGERIAPOLICE
#ENDSARS: Death by Car Accident and the System
On the morning of the 29th of July after dropping off a friend from the after party of The Capital Movement festival, our brother, Tony Zitta was involved in a collision with a formerly unidentified BMW. This car was unidentified because the driver of the car had removed his license plate and anything that could be traced back to him, which according to eye witness statements was with the help of the first policemen that showed up at the scene of the accident.
The driver then called some two unidentified bouncers and ordered a Towing vehicle to come and get his car from the scene. One of the eyewitnesses named Francis along with some other people prevented them from towing the vehicle away. But it was not until the police inspector showed up himself that the towing van left the vehicle.
Before this, a good Samaritan named Sophia along with her friend brought the unconscious Tony out of the car. While the police refused to aid her, Sophia and a friend put Tony into the car of respondents and made them carry her to the hospital along with the items they had safeguarded.
Although when these policemen carried her to Wuse hospital they immediately abandoned her there, even after she begged them to follow them in and speak to the hospital staff so they would treat Tony. Sophia used some of the money on his person to open a hospital card for Tony so they could stabilize him.
It was at that point, knowing what was going on at the scene she then went to the station to get a police inspector who she now took to the scene and stopped the towing van. The policemen had handed Tony’s Phone and laptop to the inspector along with a bundle of money that was reportedly found on a bystander who had stolen it from Tony’s car but was not detained. #ENDSARS
My Experience Benin Ore Express With #ENDSARS
So last December, I decided to make a road trip to Calabar for my wedding; after I encountered over 38 checkpoints of Police, Mopol and SARS, was stopped by a gang of SARS guys. They brought me outta my car into the bush just off the road
While there, there were a lot of other younger folks, some in cuffs seated on the floor. I was hearing negotiations like; “Oga if you no fit transfer 300k, we go waste you for here” when it got to my turn, regardless of the fact that I was clean with no worries or fears, these guys harassed me, with a gun and slaps, while still searching my phone, they eventually found nothing and wasted my time for over 2hours.
From then, I had avoided road trips towards Benin or beyond, not because I’m fraudulent or a criminal but just because I just couldn’t stand that kinda intimidation anymore
How can you be charged with killing your mum when she is alive?
My uncle was kidnapped by SARS in 2008, at ozoro polytechnic and taken to state CID Asaba, tortured, and charged with the murder of his mum my grandma who was alive.
He spent a year in prison for killing his own mother that was coming to the cell to beg for his release.
Private securities now on standby at ikeja protest ☑️.#Godgopurnishyapapa #Nasspaycut#EndSWAT #EndSARS#YourViewTVC baba alado Nigerian army aunty funke falz NYSC obasa jack awkuzu SARS ondo and Edo Abba kyari pic.twitter.com/vaSwiLA98k
— 😜Hilarious Tweeter😜 (@heybliss_tweets) October 15, 2020
How SARS maltreated my bro & me for carrying a PC
In Ikere Ekiti, SARS members stopped my bro and me, asking for the receipt of our laptop. He was slapped and I was maltreated for trying to explain. They even cocked their guns and threatened to shoot us.
I was taken to their station and they told me to write in a statement that they found me with a stolen laptop. My father came to the station with the receipt before I was released.
Before they released the laptop, they requested that we fuel their oga’s vehicle but we refused.
SARS COLLECTED MY LAST KOBO AND REQUESTED I TAKE THEM TO ATM AND WITHDRAW FOR THEM
On this faithful day in 2017, I rushed from the office to pick up a vehicle part which my mechanic bought for me, on my way, sars stopped me and requested for my vehicle papers which I showed them and they requested I show them transfer of ownership if really I was the owner of the vehicle.
Ii told them I don’t have it right there as I swiftly left the office to pick something from the mechanic, the next thing I was label criminal, they attempted to impound my car until they collected the money I had with me. This happened in Lokogoma Abuja.
In another development, I mistakenly entered a road I was not supposed to follow and they arrested me, I told them I was new to the area but they refused until they collected my last kobo and even said I should take them to ATM to withdraw whatever I have there for them. This happened in Karu Abuja.
How policeman lied that I wanted to collect his gun
One afternoon opposite Group Medical Mokola Ibadan, My brother and I got down from the bike, wanted to buy a phone for my sister. Two policemen walked up to us asking to see our ID cards. We didn’t have any. So they asked us to follow them to the station close by.
I refused at first until they started dragging me like a criminal. When we got to the station, their report was that I was dragging guns with them, that I wanted to collect their guns. They asked me to write a statement saying that I was trying to collect their gun.
I wrote exactly what happened. When the police guy read it, he became angry that I didn’t write what he told me. Long story short, they asked me to settle them. I sha gave them #500. Personally, I have a phobia for Nigerian police. Too many bad eggs.
How SARS said my Benz was a stolen vehicle
Last year in July I and my son went to renew our passport at gwagwalada. I needed to get a document at a nearby office. On getting out, I noticed a black van parked in front of my car but didn’t realize SARS laid ambush for me.
Suddenly, these dirty looking guys on black and armed came towards us from different angles and asked who owned the car and I said it was mine. I asked them to identify themselves and they had identity cards that looked fake. They said I should hand over the keys that it was a stolen vehicle and one of them pointed a gun at my 8yrs old son. A child for crying out loud.
I began to panic but had to control myself and immediately people gathered to watch. I made some calls that led to our rescue. I was to follow them to their Area office at Gwagwalada. One of them wanted to enter my car with my son seated at the back, I had to shout and said no one will enter my car with a weapon else I won’t go anywhere.
These animals were oozing alcohol, eyes bloodshot, and looking so horrible. It was just the mercy of God that saved us. What if!!! This madness has to end now. #endsarsbrutality #EndSARSnow #Endpolicebrutality
SARS Arrested me and my friend on our way to school And demanded 200k
This year March 2020, I had an operation, I was recovering and that morning I went to the hospital to clean up and replace the stitches. From the hospital, I went to my friend which we planned on going to Yaba Tech to submit a form. We took Uber and where we were almost at the school, the SARS stopped the car. I never knew they were sars course they are not in uniforms.
Immediately they entered the car and started beating me up just to collect my phone. They beat me mercilessly and I told them am just coming from the hospital but still, they never agreed, then they took me and my friend to Ojuelegba police station asking us to pay 200k.
The most annoying part is my friend told them am still receiving medication from the hospital that I just got discharged a week ago and they shouldn’t be beating me like a criminal still they never listened and told him my life is nothing to them that I’m a criminal.
That day, I almost fainted cause I was seriously tortured for doing nothing. I have to go to the nearest clinic to clean up my wounds.
How SARS robbed me because of I had tattoos
I and my GF were driving to the mall to go and buy a perfume for my birthday, just before we drove into the mall, a Toyota Matrix pulled up in front and one officer jumped out and pointed a gun at my car. I was confused at first.
Then one came to my side and asked for my Car information, I gave it to him then they asked my gf to get down and go to the back of the car. One then entered the passenger seat and told me to drive out of there.
We drove for like 10mins and then parked. I was asking what the problem was. They said I beat the traffic light (there was no traffic light anywhere at all) then they searched my car and found nothing.
The moment one of the officers saw I had tattoos, he asked to see my phone. I was about to give it to him then I stopped for a second and asked him why, he said I looked like a yahoo boy, I laughed and told him I wouldn’t be driving this kind of car if I was.
He asked me where I got money to buy the kind of car I was driving and what I did for a living. I showed him my ID and told him I was a UI/UX designer.
He didn’t buy that. It was getting dark already and they were already throwing threats around. At that point, I was worried about the safety of my gf and then asked them what they want that I want to leave here. They said I should bring 10million, I laughed again.
At the end of negotiations for no just cause, they took me to use some offline pos machines and took 40k from me and 50k cash my gf had in her bag that she wanted to use to spoil me (e pain me die) then they started narrating to me how they have killed people and how I should not mess with them that I should pay 1million.
I told them at this point I had nothing else that We should go to their station and I would call my lawyer. They said no problem that it’s a Friday and if I get there, I would spend the weekend there with my gf. They then asked me if I had bitcoin, that I should unlock my phones so they can check my alert and bitcoin wallet with a gun pointed to my leg (it was already dark).
After much deliberations, they told me to call someone to bring money or transfer to me. I told them I had no one to do that. They said I should try. I called a friend who sent me 30k. We then drove to withdraw the money, while I was there, one of the officers was in the car with my gf. My gf kept calling me when I was looking for where to withdraw the money but I was distracted so I didn’t pick.
After I got back to my car and settled them, they asked me to take their phone number that I should call them that we are friends, I told them to fuck off, that if they were my friends, they should give me back my hard-earned money.
At that point, I broke down into tears. They gave me back 2k…imagine! And drove off.
Then my gf told me that one of the officers in the car tried touching her severally, and kept asking her why she was wearing short dress (disgusting preeks) at that point I went nuts and almost caused a major accident on the road. This happened the day before my birthday. It was a very terrible experience. #EndSars #EndSwat
How SARS collected my ATM card and emptied my account
Sometime last year I was coming back from an official function hosted at a garden near Next Cash ‘n’ Carry when I was stopped by operatives in a vehicle. I explained to them I was a Civil Servant and even showed them my ID card, they forced me onto their vehicle and asked for my ATM card which I refused to give.
They started hitting me, collected the card, and asked for the pin, I outrightly told them I wouldn’t hand over such info, they told me without mincing word that they would “waste: me if I didn’t give them the right pin.
They emptied 300k and made away with 2 mobile phones which I had leaving me with my laptop on a bridge.
How I was stopped by the SARS based on greediness
On my way from Ibadan, Oyo State to Iwo, Osun State, I was ordered by a SARS officer to come out from the bus for him to check me out. This will be the first time I will be questioned and embarrassed by a Policeman in the midst of the passengers.
Why am I saying this? I was the only one out of 15 passengers that was told to open his bag. Was it because my bag was on my lap? When the SARS called me, I was first shocked and a statement started to run in my brain. And that statement was the saying of Naira Marley – “Am I a yahoo boy? Egba mi, egba mi o. Se mo jo omo yahoo?” After that, I gained confidence immediately. Why will I be called out from the bus? I need to stand on my ground.
When the confidence has reached its peak, obedience came in. Whenever he asked me to open my bag, I will obey it immediately because I believe in my personality, in who I am. I can’t be involved in illegal acts. As I opened my bag, he saw my laptop. Immediately, he sanctioned me to bring out the receipt of the laptop. I was earlier warned from home to leave the laptop. But I disagreed because it is one of my basic and fundamental tools in carrying out my digital marketing services.
Fortunately, I carried my receipt along. I am not writing about this event to gist you. I am writing so that you can learn from this. I started searching for the receipt and there, I saw it. Immediately, I showed him. The policeman had a conviction in his mind that he would find a fault in me. He collected the receipt and started bombarding me with unnecessary questions – How much did you buy the laptop? Where and When did you get the laptop? I was recollecting the date I purchased the laptop and the amount I bought it. I got it right.
The policeman still did not leave me alone. He continued to ask for my state of origin and the reason for coming to Iwo. Are my parents in Iwo? I know that he was not sure of what to ask, but I answered his irrelevant questions. He collected my phone to check out. Only God knows what he was checking. He handed it back to me. I just thank God he did not ask for the receipt of my phone. There will be a big ‘wahala’ in the spot.
The policeman finally left me alone. I thank God. When I went back into the bus, the following questions started to pop up in my mind:
- Is it right for him to check me on the road?
- Why didn’t he check others?
- If he finds fault in me, what would be the next thing he will do?
- Were those questions he asked meant to be asked?
- Why was it only me that he checked?
Everything went well because I was totally confident and obedient. I answered all his questions politely and I brought my receipt along. He was not even smiling at all. I was not also smiling. What was in my mind was to leave his custody and continue my journey to Iwo.
Their mission on that day was to extort using all means and through suspense investigation, but they left their primary assignment which is to protect the lives of people and secure the nation. There is a need to #ENDSARS, #ENDSWAT and #STOPPOLICEBRUTALITY.
I was shot at by Sars
I was traveling alone from Benin to Lagos @6am one faithful morning and met with a group of Sars who stopped me on the highway, took my phone and found nothing on it and they took turns to slap me for having nothing on the phone and accused me of having a private folder on the phone.
I was dragged into the Bush, asked to sit on the floor, they hit me with a log of wood on the head, shot into the air to scare me, and asked me to provide 500k or they will kill me and bury me in the Bush, after so much plea and tears, they took the last 20,000 I had on me. But thank God I survived.
How SARS Slapped and beat my brother because of a simple hair cut! Not even dreadlocks
My brother works with a laundry shop, one of the days he came out to buy fuel (for the generator so that he can iron) on getting to the fuel station see SARS guys they were parked in front of the fuel station. They halted him and asked him to come he went, only for them to ask “why you barb this kind of hair?”
Before my confused brother who was still wondering what’s wrong with his hair cut could say jack, they landed him a hot slap and dragged him into the vehicle, they drove him to Eleme junction here in PH and started demanding for money which he didn’t have.
They gave him more slaps plus beating and threw him out of the vehicle. God willing, no car was coming else he would have been crushed!! My brother had to trek from there down to the house with all the pains from beating and a swollen face from slaps. #EndSars #EndSWAT #EndPoliceBrutality
Harassed for caring dread on
A day came when me and a friend of mine were walking down the street, then one of them (SARS operatives) approached us and asked me “why you do dread?” The next thing was “make I see your phone” then they started hitting us with different materials and took the phone along with them. Abeg dressing no be personality ooo, Abeg #EndSars #EndSWAT #EndPoliceBrutality
SARS Threaten to shoot me
On my way to Benin city for a friend’s introduction, some roughly looking guys who claim to be Federal SARS stopped me and my colleagues to give them cash all because we are good looking and which means we are Internet fraudster.
We dragged it and made a scene at the spot which made them start threatening to kill us all because we are dragging issue with them. #EndSars
How I was raped and Kidnapped by a Policeman
It was during my youth service in one of the villages in Ebonyi state. He came in the disguise of a gentleman. I was a get inside kinda girl, hence the reason for the naivety.
He invited me to a bar in town, and I obliged, there was shooting in the environ and the explanation was cult guys fracas. I was so scared and requested we leave, he kept delaying saying he was waiting for someone. I could have left, but I was so scared, I was in a place far away from my PPA. I didn’t know my way and I never knew what could happen to me, with the whole fracas outside.
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Next thing, he took me to a room and said he was coming back. By this time, it was dark already and I was scared as shit, but at the same time, I was avoiding not falling into the hands of people fighting. He came back shortly, lo and behold the beast was released. At the point, where I was screaming he would hit me so hard that I was crying profusely and shoved a cloth in my mouth.
He finally had his way, I called the reception for help after he stepped out briefly because he locked me inside, they explained that they couldn’t intervene. After this, I went back to my PPA and never mentioned the incident to anyone, he came visiting again and they came to call me, that I had a visitor.
I was playing cool and didn’t want anyone to know what was going on, so I entered his car and he just zoomed off and took me to his place in the town which was over an hour drive. I entered the car with my bathroom slippers and no money on me, the next day which was on a Sunday. He just dropped me by the junction, gave me some change, and told me to find my way. I had to hustle for tf to get back.
The third time, he came to my compound, it was awfully quiet and he asked me to enter his car. I refused and the next thing he bundled me like a thief and was about to shove me inside. Luckily, my housemates came around this time, so I finally mustered up the courage and told him I wasn’t going anywhere with him. His name is Chijioke, he studied English Language. He is tall and dark. #EndSars #EndSWAT
How Sars arrested me unlawfully
I was doing my legitimate business as a shawarma guy at a bar, February 14th 2020 these Sars guys came and arrested some guys. Some scaled through the fence to escape, so one of the officers came to my spot and said what was I doing at the bar and I replied politely it’s where I work that I make shawarma there, they even saw me wrapping shawarma.
I was taken to Ipakodo Sars office where I spent 2nights and later parted with #40000 to regain my freedom. #EndSars #EndSWAT #EndPoliceBrutality
#EndSARS: I Escaped Ritualists But #EndSARS Victimized Me
A Nigerian taxi drive who recently escaped from the hands of ritualists on Wednesday 23nd Sept 2020, finally narrates his ordeal and how officials of SARS victimized and extorted money from him to take up the case and till now, nothing has been done.
How I Was Kidnapped In My Cab By Ritualist
I am a bolt driver who picked up 3 riders from Eleganza before Lekki 2nd toll gate and heading to Oshodi at about 9:45pm on Wednesday 23nd Sept 2020.
On the way, one of them said he will stop at law school after 1st toll gate, on getting there I stopped for the guy to alight and to my shock, the two at the back held me from the back, held onto my throat, and dragged me to the floor of the back seat.
Immediately, the one in front took over the steering. At this point, they started hitting my knees, shoulders, and elbow with a harmer to weaken me. I became so weak with pains and remained calm till dey drove to a distance and the driver suddenly said my fuel is finished.
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Their commander asked me if I hard a fuel keg in the boot and I said yes, so he asked the driver to park close to a fuel station and use the keg to get fuel but the other one said no need to park that he should drive in since they have weakened me already.
At this point, I prayed for God’s help because they pulled my black polo and used it to cover my face but when I noticed they were already at the fuel station, I started shouting but they zoomed off and someone drove after us, double-crossed us but his car was hit off the road.
So they continued and the torture on me became more severe, one of them held onto my nose with his teeth with blood pouring out while the other one tightened his hands to my throat, I didn’t even have the voice to begged but only struggled for life…READ MORE
Swat Arrested Me For Having iPhone 6+
In 2019 while I was still serving I was traveling frm Ado to ilorin that was how they stop our bus and ask for my phone which I show him and he collected it from me asking me where I get the money to buy my iPhone 6plus ….. #endsars
How SARS Extorted 220k From Me
Got arrested around November 2017 for selling a phone to a friend. They came to my house around 2am and beat me like hardened criminal. I spent more than 2 weeks in their cell with experience I can never forget. They kill people like Chicken every night and day. I got bailed with 220k. #EndSars #EndSWAT
How SARS threatened to “blow my head comot for my body”
It was in Odenigwe, Nsukka that it happened. I was coming back from Ogige market with my friend. We had gone to buy food items for the new month. We were on a bike. The bike-man rode towards Odenigwe in Nsukka, Enugu State.
We saw from a distance a white Hilux van and about six men, all wearing black shirts and black trousers. They all had guns. The bike-mad drove past the van and we heard a man shout at us. It was the man who was sitting in the empty space behind the van. He shouted at us to stop but we didn’t. The bike-man heard him but ignored him. He was mumbling something, I couldn’t hear it but it sounded as though he was grumbling.
The officer shouted again “una dey mad! I say make una stop there! Una wan chop bullet!?! Stop there now!” This was around 2 pm. I was quiet. My friend that sat behind me on the bike had already begun to complain. I hadn’t had any run-in with SARS before. I’ve only heard stories from people and they weren’t nice ones at all.
I was scared and hoped these guys weren’t the infamous SARS (now SWAT) because I had heard of their brutality. The bike-man turned around and we headed back to the Hilux van. “Una no wan chop this rice wey una buy,” the officer said to my friend and I “Una don hear of SARS. Na we be dat o” This officer was reeking strongly of weed and gin.
It was choking. “Ah-ahn… No be like dat, oga. We no hear you…” It was my friend who spoke. I was just quiet and scared. “Wetin una go buy for market?” The SARS officer said My friend replied “na just wetin we wan use take cook this afternoon. Rice, tomato, onions… dat kind tin… We join buy toiletries…” “Eh-hen… Gimme your phones, now” “Nothing dey inside am…” My friend said as he handed over his phones to the SARS officer. I gave him mine too.
“Shut up your mouth! Open the phone!” “Why?” I asked The officer looked shocked. Other officers that were around stopped talking with themselves and looked to my direction. “This guy no wan go house today o,” one officer said. “No mind am. He never hear of SARS” another officer replied him but his eyes were still on me. The man that ordered me to open my phone just cocked his gun and pointed it directly at my face.
This was in broad daylight! “I go blow your head comot for your body. Nothing go happen. I go come your burial chop rice wey for don nearly spoil” The SARS officer said. He didn’t raise his voice. He was quite calm. He said it in low, threatening tones.
I didn’t see the other officers who spoke but I heard a mixture of “off the man!”, “See, no be for here you go do am”, “people dey look you o” One officer placed a hand on his shoulder to calm him down. I stared down the barrel of that gun. I felt so powerless, so weak. I was scared. I was angry. I just wanted to go home. My friend was dumbfounded.
He told me to just open the phone. I did. While he looked through whatever it was he was looking through, I saw as the other SARS officers were just rounding up anybody they saw. No explanation, nothing. They just manhandled anybody, all guys, that they saw and forced them into the Hilux van. There was this one guy who went to the market to buy a lighter. I listened to his case.
He lived really close to the market apparently that he could walk to and from it. He was slapped and forced into the Hilux van because the SARS officers could not understand why he left his house just to buy a lighter. They concluded that be smoked weed and that’s why he needed to lighter. And if he smoked weed, he was probably bad news. This was coming from an officer whose colleague, that was searching through my phone for God knows what was reeking of weed!
The boy complained that he wanted to talk a walk to buy a lighter because his matches just finished and a lighter last relatively longer than matches and according to him, no one sells a lighter close to him there. He was going home to cook what he’ll eat that evening before the SARS officers caught him and slapped him. They gave us back the phones.
They decided to search us. We were both wearing joggers and a T-shirt. The officer that pointed the gun at my face searched me. They found nothing. We apparently didn’t have what they were looking for. They emptied the sac that contained what we bought on the floor. The meat was sandy and the ground tomato spilled. “Una get luck. Make una go. No dey disrespect a police officer again…” The officer told us.
We took the half bag of rice that we bought and everything else, mounted it on the bike, and prepared to ride off. “Onye okada, you no get ear to hear when we call una, abi? E be like say you wan follow us go station? No try am again!” One officer said to our bike-man, he did not reply. We were about to leave when we heard one officer say “we don full o. Mey we go.”
At this time, the Hilux van was full of boys who squeezed themselves in with the SARS officers. They drove off opposite to our direction. I felt pity for all of those boys. I felt anger too. This is why we want SARS TO END. #EndSars #EndSWAT #EndPoliceBrutality