Police ‘torture’ 23-year-old to death over ‘stolen motorcycle’

The family of Hassan Abdullahi, a 23-year old man from Zamfara State, has said that their son was tortured to death by the police for allegedly stealing a motorcycle.

Nura Abdullahi, brother of the deceased, told the media that the family would take all necessary steps to ensure that the policemen involved are brought to justice.

“What happened was that last year, Hassan’s friend, Saidu, stole a motorbike and rode it to Argungu in the neighbouring Kebbi State,” Nura explained.

“When he arrived he met Hassan there. He told my brother that he wanted to sell the bike and my brother brought a buyer, unknown to him that the bike was stolen.

“The bike was then sold off, unknown to Saidu that he was seen by a resident when he was riding the bike out of Gummi town. So when he came back he was arrested and detained by the police alongside my brother.

“The case was then resolved after the stolen motorbike was retrieved and a certain amount of money was paid by the buyer of the motor bike and they were set free.

“But a year later, just two weeks ago, Hassan was re-arrested and beaten by the police. When the case was resolved earlier, Hassan left town and didn’t come back until a year later. When he arrived Gummi, one of his friends informed the police that he was back and had paid a visit to the local government secretariat.

“Hassan’s friend connived with the police and he was re-arrested at Gummi Local Government Area secretariat premises where he had gone for a transaction.

“They started beating him right from there. They handcuffed him, bundled him into a waiting vehicle and moved to the police station where he was continuously beaten.

“When the police realised the magnitude and consequence of their action, they decided to rush him to a hospital after they noticed a white fume gushing out from his nostrils and mouth.

“He died and a day after, his corpse was deposited at the medical facility in Gummi. And preliminary investigation revealed that he had some internal injuries as a result of the beating.”

Voice of the Masses, a non-governmental organisation, said it would support the Abdullahi family not only to get justice for the deceased but also to bring an end to the use of torture by security operatives.

Garba Bala, Chairman of the NGO, said the group was documenting all available evidence that would help them secure a successful prosecution.

“I was at the station when the victim was brought by the police. His hands were held back, tied and handcuffed. They gave him a serious beating and within 24 hours he died,” Bala said.

“Police have been subjecting civilians here to torture. We have a case of one person here who was asked to chew paper as bread and many more others.

“The family of the deceased is under intense pressure to withdraw the case. The father of the victim is being intensively lobbied to give in. But even if he drops the case, we will continue with our process to ensure that justice is done on the matter.”



    When contacted, Bello Galadi, Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), in Zamfara State, said he was aware of the matter but has not received any formal report on it.

    “We can’t comment on the matter until we receive a formal petition on the case from the family,” he said. “This would give us a true picture of the case and then prepare on how to go about it.”

    However, Muhammadu Shehu, the spokesman of the Zamfara State Police Command, denied that the police tortured the deceased to death. Instead, he said that Hassan was arrested because he was a wanted criminal, but when it was discovered that he was illl, the police took him to the hospital, where he died.

    “We don’t torture civilians; it is not our tradition and it is against our rules of engagement,” he added.

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