EKITI, Nigeria – A 30-year-old man, Mr Ayotomiwa Elegbeleye has 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 panel on Thursday 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 pm and was taken to their custody where he was repeatedly tortured.
According to him, he was hanged with a rod in custody while the officers tortured him with pressing iron for 23 days over his failure to offer N500,000 requested for him to be released.
During the sitting, the complainant, who was brought from the Correctional Centre, showed members of the panel the bodily injuries he sustained from the hot pressing iron when he was in their custody.
He said, “I was arrested by the SARS operatives around 11:55 pm in my house in Ikere-Ekiti without them telling me the crime I committed. That night, I was taken to their office where I was tortured with pressing iron that I should confess to being an armed robber.
I was hanged up with a rod. I gasped for breath, begging them to release me but they said I will only be released with payment of N500,000.
“After 23days 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 activity, pleaded with the panel to investigate his case with a bid of releasing him from the prison.
” I come to the 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 medicare 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 alleged conspiracy, murder and armed robbery against the complainant is currently before the State High Court.
Counsel to the complainant, Layi Obisesan, argued that his client is before the panel to seek justice over the brutality he suffered in the hands of the SARS operatives.