IIP-SARS: Police officer alleges assault while on open defecation in Durumi Abuja

A Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Cornelius Agbo told the IIP-SARS how he escaped from the assault of six men who allegedly hit his head repeatedly while he defecated in a nearby bush at Durumi, Abuja sometimes in 2013.
DSP Agbo made this statement in respect of a petition filed by Tony Duchi and seven (7) other complainants from Southern Kaduna, Kaduna state, alleging that the police unlawfully tortured, detained and imprisoned them based on ethnic origin. Though the police had before now made allegations of conspiracy, assault and theft for which they were arrested and subsequently taken to court.
The Senior Police Officer who currently serves at MOPOL 29 Awka, Anambra state told the 11-Member panel chaired by Justice Suleiman Galadima (rtd) that the assault took place while he was serving at the FCT Police command.
According to the DSP, it all started when he went to fix his car at a mechanic workshop located at Durumi, Abuja and he had a bowel movement that made him to inquire from his mechanic, one Uche, if there was a rest room nearby and the mechanic said no.
Since there was no handy toilet facility in the environ, the police officer noted, he had to make use of the nearby bush as was directed by his mechanic without knowing that danger in form of assault was waiting for him.
Continuing his narration, he told the panel that while he was defecating in the bush, three men wielding sticks suddenly accosted him and started hitting him on his head, which resulted to serious bleeding.
While the hitting intensified, he said that he started running for his life and that unfortunately for him, he ran into another three men who also took their turn in beating him with wood as well. In the end, he said that he managed to escape without his car and visited a Pharmacy where his injury was treated.
Thereafter, he stated that he headed home and that the following morning; he went to Garki Police station to report the matter. Upon reporting the incident to the police, the DPO mobilised a patrol team to effect arrest where he was allegedly attacked.
He said that he and his mechanic were able to identify the suspects which resulted in their arrest and detention at Garki police station in Abuja and that he made his statement concerning the assault before leaving the station.
He also informed the panel that the suspects were subsequently charged at Wuse Zone 6 Chief Magistrate court in Abuja before he was transferred to Awka, Anambra state. He said that he did not know the outcome of the case and that nobody called him in respect of the matter.
Police Counsel, Fidelis Ogwobe who led him in his testimony before the panel asked whether he shot sporadically when the incident occurred or caused the eight (8) complainants to be tortured by SARS.
In his response to the above questions, the DSP said that he was not with any gun while he visited the mechanic workshop and therefore couldn’t have shot sporadically as claimed by the complainants.
Secondly, he said that even though he works with SARS he did not report the case to SARS and that he rather reported it to Garki police station. He therefore denied the allegation of torture by SARS as made by the complainants.
On cross-examination by Counsel to the complainants, Simon Yusuf, he said that he could no longer remember if he ever made testimonies before a Chief Magistrate Court in Karu, even though Yusuf informed the panel that he (DSP Agbo) testified before the aforesaid court in respect of the matter.
Yusuf also told the panel that DSP Agbo had informed the court that the eight suspects weren’t those who assaulted him and that they were mere victim of circumstance, which the DSP however denied before the panel on Monday, 22nd November, 2021.
Yusuf, Counsel to the complainant informed the panel that his clients were first taken to a police station in Nasarawa state where they were allegedly tortured before they were later transferred to Garki police station in Abuja following his protest.
It will be recalled that the complainants had earlier informed the Panel that on the day of their arrest, a team of policemen came to their residential houses in Durumi, Abuja shooting sporadically to their utter surprise.
Tony Duchi and seven other complainants had in their petition stated “that apart from the gunshots, arrests were made by the police and that virtually all the people arrested are youth from Southern Kaduna, except few people from Idoma in Benue state”
On what informed his assertion that virtually all the people that the police arrested on that occasion are indigenes of Southern Kaduna, he answered that while the arrest was being made by the police, “One Inspector Cornelius Agbo (now properly identified by Police legal team as DSP Cornelius Agbo) mentioned Southern Kaduna people as those he is targeting to deal with.
The matter was adjourned to 30th November, 2021 for continuation of defense.