The Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing allegations of human rights abuses against officers of the disbanded Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad has heard how a 48 year old deceased businessman was tortured in police custody in 2014.
Basil Ejiagwa’s cousin, Chukwu Vincent, told the panel that the petitioner died last week after filing his petition against the police, he stated that the police arrested Mr. Ejiagwa at Igando while he was returning from work and brought him to the police station there, where they allegedly used a big hammer to hit his legs, damaging them in the process.
He said he was later transferred to the SARS unit where he was hit on the head with the butt of a gun, leading to a fracture on his head, which later caused a brain tumor.
The witness told the retired Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel that after struggling with failing health for six years following the torture by policemen, his cousin eventually died in Imo state last week on November 17.
He said Mr. Ejiagwa was taken to the East when his health continued to deteriorate and he even lost his memory.
The late Mr. Ejiagwa also went to the Federal high court Lagos to seek justice and was given a N40 million naira in his favour in 2019 which the Nigeria police has not honored.
He, however, said since the judgment was delivered on April 16, 2019, the police had refused to honour it.
The witness said that, “On behalf of the family of Basil, I am appealing to this panel to help us enforce the judgment against the police. The judgment was delivered since April 16, 2019 and up till now, we have not heard anything from the police,”
The panel admitted as exhibits hospital documents, including a bill of N1m and a doctor’s report; as well as the judgment of the Federal High Court in Lagos awarding N40m damages to the victim.
Counsel for the police, Joseph Ebosereme, sought an adjournment to cross-examine the witness.
The panel adjourned proceedings to December 4