November 20, 2020
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A 30-year-old man, Mr Ayotomiwa Elegbeleye, on Thursday appeared before the Ekiti State Judicial Panel of Inquiry into allegations of police brutality where he narrated his ordeals in the hands of operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

Elegbeleye, who appeared before the judicial panel in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, said he was arrested by eight SARS operatives in his house in Ikere-Ekiti on January 7, 2020, at about 11:55 p.m. and was taken to their custody where he was repeatedly tortured.

According to him, he was allegedly beaten with a rod in the custody while the officers allegedly tortured him with pressing iron for 23 days over his alleged failure to offer N500,000 requested for him to be released.

During the sitting, the man, who was reportedly brought from the Correctional Centre, showed members of the judicial panel the injuries he sustained from the hot pressing iron when he was in their custody.

According to him: “I was arrested by the SARS operatives around 11:55 p.m. at my house in Ikere-Ekiti without telling me the crime I committed. That night, I was taken to their office, they beat and tortured me with pressing iron that I should confess being an armed robber.

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“I was also beaten up with a rod. I gasped for breath begging them to release me but they said I would only be released with payment of N500,000.

“After 23 days in their custody and with serious bodily injuries, they took me to the police hospital in Oke-isa when they felt I might die due to my worse health condition.”

Elegbeleye, who maintained that he was never involved in any criminal activities, pleaded with the judicial panel to investigate his case with a bid of releasing him from the prison.

“I have come to the judicial panel for them to assist me in getting justice from this suffering I am passing through for an offence I don’t know anything about and I need urgent medical attention now because I am having serious difficulty in breathing due to the manner I was beaten by the SARS officers,” he said.

However, counsel to the police said a case of the alleged conspiracy, murder and armed robbery against the man is currently before the State High Court.

But counsel to the man argued that his client is before the judicial panel to seek justice over the brutality he suffered in the hands of the SARS operatives.

Chairman of the judicial panel, Justice Cornelius Akintayo, adjourned the matter till December 3 for the continuation of hearing, calling on the parties to present their witnesses on the adjourned date.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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