Timothy Ogbeye, a car dealer, has told the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that SARS operatives tortured him in Anambra State for refusing to pay the sum of N5 million.
The NHRC independently investigates alleged human rights violations by operatives of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police units.
Ogbeye disclosed this on Wednesday while giving evidence before the panel in his petition marked 2020/IIP-SARS/ABJ/120.
He alleged unlawful arrest and detention, a threat to life, assault, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment.
The respondents are Inspectors Oriyomi Aregbelo, Uche Onnonogbo, Andrew James and Patrick Agbazue, all of the defunct SARS, Awkuzu, Anambra, as well the officer in charge, defunct SARS, Commissioner of Police, Anambra and the Inspector-General of Police.
“I was arrested in Abuja with my two brothers and taken to Anambra, where I was beaten and tortured by SARS operatives.
“On the third day, I was brought out, and Agbazue told me that if I want peace, I should pay N5 million.
”I told him that I didn’t have such money. He then ordered that I be taken back into the cell.
“Insp James ordered the commander of Cell four, where I was put to torture me until I was ready to cooperate.
“My eye see pepper in that place.
“While being locked up, my parents visited the SARS office in Anambra but were not allowed to see me,” Ogbeye alleged.
Ogbeye said that while in detention, he filed a suit against the police, and a High Court ordered that the police produce him.
“The police refused to comply. The same court ordered that I should be released, but the police refused to do so.
“During a visit to the SARS facility by a judge, the police lied to him that I was in detention for buying a stolen vehicle,” Ogbeye said.
The petitioner, therefore, urged the panel to use its power to order the police to pay him N10 million as compensation for the injustice and torture.
He also accused the police of stealing five cars, including a Toyota Venza, from his car stand.
After listening to the complaints, Rtd Justice Suleiman Galadima, the panel chairman, adjourned the hearing until May 3 for cross-examination, NAN reports