#EndSARS: Victims of Police brutality share their experiences
Operatives of the just disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) have been severally accused of brutalising, torturing, maiming and killing innocent Nigerians across the country.
As the #EndSARS protests continue across the country, some Nigerians who were victims of brutality and extra-judicial killings by the disbanded anti-robbery squad of the Nigeria Police Force have voiced out their ordeals under the ‘terror reign’ of the outlawed squad.
In the same vein, some citizens who were victims of police brutality during the #EndSARS protests across the country have shared their traumatic experiences and called for justice.
- Traumatised parents seek justice for slain son
Family members of a 29-year-old Jimoh Isiaka, who was killed during the EndSARS protest in Ogbomosho, Oyo State, have called for justice for their son.
Isiaka was killed and many were injured in the course of protesting against police brutality.
An eyewitness confirmed to our correspondent that he was killed by a stray bullet shot by security operatives.
He was confirmed dead at the Bowen University Teaching Hospital, Ogbomosho.
The young man was killed a week before his graduation as a trained electrician.
His 21-year-old pregnant wife, Zinab, who could not explain how the incident happened, insisted that the killer of her husband must be brought to justice.
The family of the deceased has appealed to Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu to ensure that justice is served and killer of their son brought to book.
The father of the deceased, Jimoh Atanda, who was visibly sad, described his late son as a cool-headed boy who didn’t like to get involved in trouble.
“I was at Orita-merin, coming from Aroje when I received a call from his sister that her brother had been shot dead.
“I asked how it happened because I am aware that he was a cool-headed boy.
“She could not answer but said she was called by her mother.
She said she suspected that Isiaka decided to take a road where the protest was taking place while coming from work, but was shot from afar while watching the scene.
“That was how he was hit by the gun fired by the police.
“was rushed to Bowen Teaching Hospital. We tried so much to save him but he eventually died.
“I donated blood for him but we could not save him.
“I want justice for him. I want to beg the Oyo State Government to help me as he left a pregnant wife and a two-year-old child behind.
“Education of the child is very important to me, and I know Governor Makinde is a man of mercy and of the people.
“I believe he would help us. Jimoh was due to have his graduation as a trained electrician on Sunday, but death took him away,’’ he lamented.
His mother, Ramota Jimoh, told Daily Trust that she spoke with her son few minutes before he was killed, adding that she warned him not to take part in the protest.
“I was at Oke Owode when I heard of the protest.
“I called him to know where he was and he said he was on his way home from work.
“Few minutes later, I called back and the call was not going through.
“His father later called me to meet him at Bowen Teaching Hospital.
“He told me that my son was hit by a bullet.
“I ran to that place and was asked to donate blood.
“I did that, but we later lost him. I want justice. I also want the state government to help us as he left a pregnant wife and a two-year-old daughter.
“My son was killed over something he knew nothing about,’’ she recounted.
One of the protesters who gave account of the incident said, “We started the protest peacefully and marched to the palace of the Soun of Ogbomoso.
“The monarch sent someone to address us and charged us not to cause any problem.
“From there, we marched to the police station and submitted a petition to them.
“We were surprised as the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) was seen holding a gun.
“Many of us got furious about it because it was a peaceful protest.
“The leader of Ogbomoso Parapo later came to address us and asked us to go back to the palace.
“But to my surprise, as we were going back, I heard a gunshot, followed by teargas.
“When I looked back, I discovered that someone had been hit by the shot.
“The person happened to be Jimoh.
“He actually lived in the area but was not involved in the protest.
“He was in his shop before he decided to step out.
“This actually got his neighborhood friends and peer group angry on Sunday when they heard the police said they didn’t shoot or kill anyone during the protest.
“They marched back to the police station at Owode, where two people were killed again and their bodies dumped at the station before they moved them to the palace of the Soun of Ogbomoso.”
The caretaker chairman of Ogbomoso Central Local Government Area, Adeyinka Oluwaseun, said he was surprised at the incident, adding that people of the ancient town were peace-loving.
“I am not happy with the incident. It was not expected because our people are peace-loving,’’ he said.
Also reacting, the caretaker chairman of Ogbomoso South Local Government, Oyedokun Timothy, said the incident was unfortunate, adding that investigations were ongoing to unravel the killer of the victim.
- ‘Family of ex-corps member still in trauma’
The family of the late ex-corps member, Ifeoma Abugu, who allegedly died in the hands of SARS operatives in Abuja, said they were still in a state of shock over the incident.
Family members of the deceased ex-corps member had, through their counsel, Ifeanyi Mammah, petitioned Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu, seeking investigation into the alleged rape and killing of their daughter by three SARS officers in Abuja.
Speaking with our reporter, the deceased’s elder brother, Alex Abugu, said the death of his younger sister, whom he said graduated from the Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu State, was too difficult to get over.
He said the family was always in shock each time they recalled the circumstances that led to her gruesome death in the hands of the SARS officers.
“We are still in shock and state of devastation, especially anytime we remember the manner the SARS officers manhandled my sister.
“As I am talking to you right now, an autopsy had been carried out since the 25th of last month, but we are still waiting for the result,” he said.
Abugu recalled that he was in Lagos when he received a phone call on that fateful day that some SARS operatives from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) police command came to Wumba village in the Lokogoma area to arrest his sister’s
fiancee, Afam Ugwunwa, but ended up whisking away his sister when they did not see their target.
He alleged that his deceased sister, who just concluded his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme, died in the custody of SARS.
According to him, the ugly incident occurred four days after she had her marriage “introduction” in Enugu State.
“Can you imagine that until this moment, my mum is not yet aware of the incident because she has been bedridden for some time now because of old age?
“If we eventually open up to her on the death of Ifeoma, she may collapse,’’ he said.
He said the family was in full support of the ongoing protests.