Lawyer sues NSCDC over suspect’s death in custody

FILE PHOTO: Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) personnel training in preparation for the 2019 General Elections in Port Harcourt on Monday (18/2/19). NSCDC have deployed 60,000 personnel nationwide for the elections. 01489/19/2/2019/Chidi Ohalete/BJO/NAN
FILE PHOTO: Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) personnel training

A lawyer, Morakinyo Ogele, has sued the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) over the death of a suspect, Razak Ahmed, in the custody of the Ondo State Command of the corps.

Mr Ahmed was arrested in March by officers of the state command for allegedly raping his eight-year-old daughter.

He reportedly died in the custody of the command in Akure, the state capital, three days after his arrest.

The family of the deceased alleged that he was tortured to death by officers of the command while trying to extract confessional statements from him.

The command’s spokesperson, Samuel Oladapo, however, denied the allegation, saying the suspect committed suicide in custody.

Not satisfied with the command’s explanation, Mr Ogele approached the High Court in Akure, demanding for justice on behalf of the deceased’s family.

The lawyer is seeking the court’s order directing the NSCDC to conduct an investigation in its Ondo State Command to identify officers involved in the arrest, detention and alleged torturing of the deceased.

He is also seeking an order directing the corps to hand over the officers to the police for proper investigation and prosecution.

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Mr Ogele also asked the court to order NSCDC to pay N500 million as damages to the family of Mr Ahmed.

He also wants the court to direct the security agency to subject all its officers to psychiatric test and stop them from torturing their suspects to obtain confessional statements.

In a 33-paragraph-affidavit, Mr Ogele said he initiated the suit on behalf of the family of the deceased and in the public interest.

“The family members of the deceased have been calling on human rights organizations to help them get justice,” said Mr Ogele.

“This is because NSCDC is trying to cover up this extrajudicial killing. They felt unconcerned about the gruesome act against the family of the deceased.

“Their spokesman declared that the man committed suicide in their custody without giving evidence. I think NSCDC is a security agency established to protect lives and properties in Nigeria. Its officers are not expected to take any life.”

Relatives of the deceased have claimed that the NSCDC used sticks to beat him until he died in custody.

But Mr Oladapo said the deceased hanged himself while he was alone in the cell.

“The suspect was arrested by our men at our out-post station and brought to the state headquarters on Monday for proper investigations. And during our investigation, Ahmed confessed to the offence and attributed it to devil’s work,” a statement by Mr Oladipo read.

“Before he was detained in the cell, he was complaining and begging that he should be allowed to put on his ‘buba’ and ‘sokoto’ because he had cold, which we obliged.

“Meanwhile, he was brought to the headquarters around 6 p.m. and surprisingly, when one of our men approached his cell to deliver food brought by one of his relatives, he was found dangling on iron door of the cell, being a short man, having torn his cloth to hang himself.

“It was unfortunate that he was the only inmate in the cell, which made it easy for him to carry out the dastardly act.”

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