A complainant at the Independent Investigative Panel on SARS (IIP-SARS), Mr Mustapha Bukar Sabo on Monday said that a police officer, DSP Ibrahim Agu of the defunct IGP Special Task Force on Terrorism and Heinous Crimes extorted N230,000 from him and still detained him for five (5) days for alleged relating with members of the Boko Haram insurgency group.
Sabo who made this allegation before the 11-Member panel chaired by Justice Suleiman Galadima (rtd) while giving his testimonies against the police over his alleged unlawful arrest, detention, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment stated that he was arrested by the police on the 15th of April, 2013 in Maiduguri, Borno state and subsequently taken to Abuja where he was detained for 5 days for allegedly sponsoring terrorism.
He stated that the police wrongfully accused him of being a member of the Boko Haram insurgency and alleged he has recruited other 600 members for the terrorist group, as well as drives about in Maiduguri with a number of AK 47 rifle in his car.
However, Mustapha denied such allegations, he noted that when police arrested him with his car, they confiscated his GSM phone, conducted a search on the vehicle and later moved to his house in Maiduguri, Borno state to do the same and that in all, the police did not find any incriminating material against him.
In the light of the above, he prayed the panel to order the police to return his N230,000 and his GSM handset which they allegedly seized when he was arrested and detained.
Meanwhile, counsel to the panel, Halilu Adamu asked the IPO Ibrahim why it has taken some much time for the police to conclude investigations into the matter since 2013, and he responded by saying that they are working as a team to get to the root of allegations against the petitioner.
Adamu added that some of his colleagues are analyzing the contents of his (Mustapha) handset to possibly establish if the complainant had been communicating with a wanted terrorist whose number was found on his phone.
On the other hand, police witness, DSP Ibrahim Agu (an Inspector as of 2013 when the petitioner was arrested) told the panel that he never at any time collected the sum of N230,000 from the complainant.
Led by police counsel, Malik Taiwo, Ibrahim conceded that he arrested Mustapha in Maiduguri and took his phone for investigations concerning a petition written to the Inspector General of Police by one Bashir Gomi on May 3, 2013, against the complainant.
He also informed the panel that the IGP later referred Bashir’s petition to the Deputy Inspector General of Police who in turn sent it to the defunct IGP Special Task Force on Terrorism and Heinous Crimes where he (Ibrahim) was serving at that time.
Explaining further, he stated that as a member of the investigating team, he can rightly inform the panel that investigations into the matter are continuing because the police found a telephone number belonging to a terrorist suspect (who is on the police wanted list) on the complainant telephone set.
When asked by the panel to divulge the name of the alleged terrorist suspect, DSP Ibrahim declined, adding that it was for security reasons they want to keep the name secret.
Other respondents listed in the petition are Inspector Sani Daura, IGP Task Force on Anti-Terrorism and Heinous Crimes, Corporal Gambo, IGP Task Force on Anti-Terrorism and Heinous Crimes, ACP Garba Baba Umar, Head, IGP Task Force on Anti-Terrorism and Heinous Crimes, Bashir Goni (Police informant, petitioner), AIG in Charge of Task Force on Anti-Terrorism and Heinous Crimes 7 and the Inspector-General of Police.
The panel ordered that written addresses should be filed and served on all the parties and responses made before 16th March 2021.
The matter was adjourned to April 7, 2021, for the adoption of addresses.