Nzube Obiechina, an alleged victim of police brutality in Lagos, has told the Lagos Judicial Panel how she was tortured by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and lost two months pregnancy in the process.
“I was two months pregnant, they were beating me, I was urinating on my cloth, they said they will kill me.
“They took me to the ‘shrine’, hang me there, beat me, slap me, they said they are going to force the baby out of me and I will die there,” she told the panel on Saturday.
Mrs Obiechina said she was put in an open-cell where she was beaten by rain and scorched by sunshine for a week, with no food to eat or water to drink.
The Saturday proceedings kicked off with the emotional tale of Mrs Obiechina who said she suffered in the hands of SARS operatives alongside her husband, Okwuchukwu Obiechina.
Mr Obiechina, who went in search for his wife at the SARS office, was also reportedly accosted, beaten and brutalised by the officers, Mrs Obiechina told the panel.
The couple were detained in the custody of FSARS, Ikeja, for 22 days.
The victims who approached the judiciary after their release said a N2 million damage was awarded by the Federal High Court, Ikeja, but SARS authority have not obeyed the court ruling.
Recounting her experience, Mrs Obiechina said she received a text from DHL on November 1, 2017, saying she had a parcel with them.
“I received a text message from the DHL that I have a parcel with them with an unknown number. I am teacher and my husband is a businessman. Later on the day, the number called me whether I have seen the text. I said no, because I’m not expecting any parcel.”
Mrs Obiechina said the caller asked for her address and occupation; she didn’t disclose her address but told him her occupation.
She said her husband tried calling the number but it was switched off and her husband instructed her that when the caller calls next, she should tell her the address of the school she works.
“The same person called with another number and asked for the address of the school and I told him. He said he is a DHL officer and that when he comes, he will explain better
“He called two hours later that he has gotten to the school. On getting to the school gate, I saw a black jeep with huge men inside and one man was on a DHL apron coming outside.
“He was calling me to confirm I’m the one and giving a signal to others. Immediately they approached me, they started beating me and that I should enter the car. They said I am a thief, armed robber and a kidnapper. He removed the DHL apron and put in the booth.”
Mrs Obiechina said the headmaster of the school who was peeping through the window observed that something was wrong and called some teachers to join him at the gate.
“By the time they came, he was pointing a gun at me and said I would follow them, that they were police and from SARS.”
Mrs Obiechina said she was two months pregnant at the time of the incident.
She was reportedly tortured, beaten and faced interrogation, she added.
The victim added that her phone was seized and her husband had no idea where she was “but kept going from one police station to another searching for her”.
Mrs Obiechina also gave the names of the three SARS personnel who reportedly tortured her.
“I begged them to give me my phone. Christian brought the phone and put it on loudspeaker. He (my husband) was asking where I was, it was Christian that gave him the direction of where to come and meet him. Area F, Ikeja.
“Immediately they saw him, they started beating him, used gun to hit his head, put tyre on his neck and said they will kill him there,” she said.
Mrs Obiechina said whenever she attempts to ask questions or talk to the officers, they kept beating and slapping her.
“They told me I should pray to God to set me free, if not, they will kill me like others. Around 7pm, they took us to Federal SARS, Ikeja. That was how I was arrested and my husband too joined.
“They said we are going to rot in there because we have not provided the suspect they are looking for,” she narrated.
The victim said they have no knowledge of the suspect the officers were looking for.
“For one week, I did not eat, I did not drink, a pregnant woman.”
Mrs Obiechina told the panel that she lost the pregnancy in the process and it was confirmed when she went to the hospital after her release.
She said the same SARS officers and others intruded into their house and re-arrested her husband.
She said her husband spent two weeks in custody this time and their lawyer wrote to them (police) to release him on orders from the Federal High Court.
“The case was rendered at the Federal High a court, Ikeja and we were awarded N2 million for the torture and brutality of the SARS. Since then, they’ve not paid the money,” she said.
She said the SARS appealed the judgment at the Lagos State court of appeal and but this was dismissed on March 25.
Dorris Okuwobi, a retired judge heading the panel accepted the judgment of the High Court and Court of Appeal as Exbibit A and Exhibit B.
The case was adjourned till November 3, when the alleged SARS operatives are expected to appear before the panel.
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