#EndSARS: Petitioner narrates how SARS tortured him, paraded him as a criminal

An EndSARS petitioner, Ezeani Henry has on Wednesday narrated the human rights violations he experienced at Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) detention centre. 

Henry told the independent investigative panel set up by the National Human Rights Commission that the SARS unit beat the hell out of him, handcuffed him, and paraded him as a criminal.  

The Complainant represented by Maxwell Opara told the panel that on June 30, 2017 his client, Henry received a call from a customer who needed his service for geophysical survey. 

Henry could not make it so he asked his partner, Stephen Iwuamadi to do the work on his behalf. 

When his colleague was done with the work, he called him around 5pm to come get the machine. 

He said, “At about 5 pm, Mr Stephen called me to hand over the geophysics machine to me and said he was at Berger junction.

“When I got there, I didn’t see him and I parked. It was then two men forcefully jumped into my car and asked for my phone. I asked who they were and they said they were policemen,” 

“I created a scene for people to intervene. People then told them to take me to the nearby police station for them to be identified. They then took me there and they were identified as policemen from SARS,” 

His outrage infuriated the SARS officers and they took him from the police station to their office at Abattoir, Garki, Abuja, threatening to kill him. 

“As we reached the gate of their office, they started to beat me with a wooden stool and a rusted machete. I was asking them what was my offence but they didn’t tell me anything but kept threatening to kill me.

“We got to their office at about 6:30 pm and they took me into a room. From that time till 11 pm, they were beating me. They beat the hell out of me.”

At about 1am the next day, a police officer Henry identified as Bawa James 

asked him about his relationship with one Chuks Anaekwe. 

“I told them I knew Chuks as a contractor who I sometimes do subcontract with and that we stay in the same estate. They then asked me to take them to his house.

“I did at about 1:30 am and Chuks refused to open the door of his house. We then stayed inside their vehicle. Meanwhile, all this while they refused to allow me to call my wife or even a lawyer.

“My wife kept calling but they did not let me pick. It was at about 7 am that they allowed me to call my wife and I told her what was happening. Between 6:30 am and 9 am, they paraded me in my estate as a criminal with handcuffs in my hands.”

Chuks Lawyer  later came to the office and told them that he will later bring Chucks to their office. 

When Henry sensed that the SARS official might request money, he asked his wife to bring his atm card. 

His assumptions were proved right, the SARS operatives requested that he pid N350,000 to bail himself. 

“When I said (I did not have the money) , one of them slapped me and I received another round of beating. When I saw how desperate they were, I asked my wife to go and withdraw N150,000 but she only withdrew N40,000 from my account and went to raise money and brought N120,000 to the SARS people.”

It was after he paid the money that he was released and allowed to go home. 

After Henry narrated his ordeal, the chairman of the panel, Justice Suleiman Galadima adjourned the petition till December 14. 

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