By Adekunle Jimoh, Ilorin
Two petitioners at the Judicial Panel of Enquiry on “EndSARS” sitting in Ilorin, Kwara state capital Wednesday narrated how officers and men of the disbanded Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) tortured them to implicate former Senate President Bukola Saraki in the April 5, 2018 Offa robbery incident.
The petitioners alleged that the dreaded SARS personnel also forced them to lie against Saraki by saying he bought guns for them.
The petitioners, Alhaji Kehinde Gobir and Alhaji Shuaib Jawando dubbed their petition as ‘the SARS officers of alleged high depth of impunity and human rights abuses.’
The people, who said they spent over 73 days in police detention in both Ilorin and Abuja, added that the police accused them of collecting guns from the former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to allegedly participate in the robbery operation.
In their separate testimonies, the duo said that SARS granted them ‘administrative bail’ with a stern warning to desist from associating with Saraki.
The petitioners denied being used by Saraki for criminal activities, adding that they were tortured and subjected to inhuman conditions in both Ilorin and Abuja police detentions.
They confessed to be only political supporters of Senator Saraki, adding that the police threatened them to implicate Saraki during their alleged ordeal in detention.
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The petitioners also accused the disbanded SARS officers of confiscating their property, which include two Toyota Corolla, handsets and N250, 000 collected before they were granted bail.
They also urged the panel to help them redeem their battered image in the eyes of the public as they had been suggested to unwarranted stigmatization and disgrace which they said had affected their livelihood and economic fortune.
They said: “In view of the foregoing and in the interest of justice, we urge your esteemed office to intervene swiftly to this situation by returning our property as this action is tantamount to infringement on the fundamental human rights to be enjoyed under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
“We did not participate in any crime nor involve in any Offa robbery killing or having any criminal records whatsoever as being wrongfully alleged by the SARS officers. We urge the panel to do the needful by facilitating the quick recovery of our property.”
In his response, the police counsel, Adekunle Iwalaye, urged the panel to dismiss the petitions in their entirety.
The chairman of the panel, retired Justice Tunde Garba, later adjourned the matter to January 13, 2021.