‘How SARS operatives killed my husband, carted away our belongings’ woman tells panel on police brutality
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“WE were in our house in Awka that fateful day in August 2017 when some gunmen broke into our house and took my husband. They also took away almost all our household properties and told me to go and marry another man that this one is as good as dead.”
Those were the words of Chidimma Edozieuno, when she appeared before the Anambra Judicial Panel of Inquiry on police brutality on Friday to give an account of what men of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) did to her spouse.
The bereaved woman told the panel that her husband whom she said lived in Benin Republic, visited Nigeria after she gave birth to a baby and was arrested in the early hours of August 1, 2017 by policemen on mufti at their Ichida street residence in Awka.
“They said my husband was a kidnapper. I didn’t even know where they came from, and at first, I didn’t even know they were policemen,” she added.
She stated that after concerted searches with a friend in police stations in the state, she found the men that took away her husband were dreaded SARS operatives from Awkuzu office.
She said the SARS operatives who came to arrest her husband took away the refrigerator, television, a generator set, laptop, iPhone and her husband. She got to know about the death of her husband through the counsel of the dreaded disbanded police unit in court.
“With the help of a friend, who is a police officer, we started looking for my husband. He took me around many police stations to know if they had him, but none of them had him. We went to the Awkuzu SARS office where I saw three of the men who came and arrested my husband.
“I took a lawyer and we went to court. It was in court that the counsel representing the SARS told us that my husband was dead. They said he was a kidnapper. I dated my husband for a long time before we got married. He is not a kidnapper. I lived in Benin and that was where we knew each other. I later relocated to Nigeria. My husband is from Aguleri.”
She demanded that the body of her husband be given to her for burial and compensation for the household items taken from her home.
V.N. Umeh, a retired justice and chairman of the panel assured her that the panel would investigate and make recommendations on her matter.
Following the demand and protest to end police brutality in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari directed that the tactical unit of the police be disbanded with a promise to investigate allegations of misconduct levied against men of the unit and to give reprieve to the victims or their families.