A petitioner at the ongoing Independent Investigative Panel on allegations of human rights violations by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other units of the Nigerian Police on Wednesday in Abuja lamented how his younger brother, Emmanuel Awulu was tortured to death in custody by officers of defunct SARS despite paying N60,000 for his release.
The petitioner, Francis Awulu, elder brother to the late Awulu told the panel that Inspector Atuma Cletus and other SARS officers beat his brother beyond recognition and killed him at the SARS headquarters.
According to Francis Awulu who was led by his counsel, Uche Uwazuruonye, the deceased, a poultry farmer was arrested on August 20, 2019, by Insp Atuma at about 2.00 am in Gwagwalada and was taken to the SARS office in Abbatoir.
He informed Justice Suleiman Galadima (retd) led panel, that immediately her brother was taken into custody, he was denied access to his family and till he died no family member was allowed to see him.
Francis Awulu, the second prosecution witness provided details on how the police extorted the family. For every visit, they were asked to pay N1, 000 as a gate fee to get to where his brother was detained unlawfully which did not yield any result.
He further alleged that on one of his visits, on the advice of one Insp Wisdom who said he should pay N4,000,000 so as to enable him “see and get listening ear” of Insp Cletus Atuma, the leader of the team, that arrested his brother.
Following the demand, Francis Awulu lamented that he could not afford such an amount and later he gave them what he had on him, which was N8,000. With this payment, Insp Cletus Atuma informed him that his brother’s name was in a list of cultist reported to the police.
Francis in his evidence recalled that after much negotiation he paid the sum of N60,000 to Insp Atuma Cletus for the release of his brother. However, he added it was on August 26, 2019, the family members were informed of Awulu’s death.
Mr Francis Awulu, speaking for the family is pleading with the panel for compensation from the police for being responsible for Auwulu’s death saying he is the breadwinner of the family, he had six dependants.
He also prayed to the panel to ensure that the perpetrators of these inhumane acts be punished.
The matter has been adjourned to April 16th 2021 for cross-examination.