LAGOS, Nigeria – A trader, Mr Ndukwe Ekekwe has narrated how he was made a paraplegic by officers of the disbanded Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS).
The wheelchair-bound victim speaking to the nine-man panel to the Lagos State Judicial Panel investigating cases, on Tuesday, said that he was thrown from a two-storey building at the Alaba International Market by officers of the squad.
Ekekwe, speaking in pidgin English said he was arrested on Feb. 16, 2018, at the Alaba International Market without charge by SARS officers.
“They immediately removed their SARS shirts and began to shoot and everyone ran away.
“I told them to state my crime and they said the arrest was an order from the Inspector-General of Police (IGP).
“I was handcuffed in one hand after they noticed I was not a troublemaker.
“While on our way, they stopped at Igando. I tried to use my other hand to reach my phone to try to call my mother, but the Inspector saw me, seized my phone, stepped on it and destroyed it.
“He also stabbed me on my wrist and back and I was hit on the head with the butt of a gun and beaten.
“They also collected the N58,000 that was for my shop,” Ekekwe added.
Ekekwe recounted how he was taken to the SARS office at Ikeja, Lagos, tortured and stripped naked.
“At night of that day (Feb. 17, 2018), they took me to my three shops where I sell phone accessories.
“The SARS officers using hammers, broke into my shop and carted away my goods and sold some of it to people in the market.
“They also took away my goods worth N15million,” he added.
He disclosed that the SARS officer that threw him from that building is Hamza Haruna.
Ekekwe mentioned that when his condition became dire, he was taken from the SARS office to the Police Hospital in Ikeja.
He was then referred to two other hospitals for treatment of his injury.
The trader lamented that he used to be the breadwinner of his family, but suffered a spinal injury from being thrown from the storey-building, which led to his paralysis.
Accoridng to him, the police did not pay for his medical expenses and that he had to sell his house and landed property to offset the expenses.
The chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi (Rtd) adjourned proceedings to Nov. 13 for the testimony of Ekekwe’s mother.