The mother of a man allegedly detained by the defunct Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad in December 2006 is asking the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on SARS-related matters, for adequate compensation as she has been searching for him since then.
The 80-year old witness while concluding her evidence on Tuesday, said her son, Abayomi Egbaiyeyomi was arrested two days after the christening of his son and that she has been handling the upkeep of the boy since his mother left him with her about seven years ago.
Titi Agnes began her testimony in April on how police officers stopped her son on his way to work in December 2006. She said she last saw him days later in custody chained on both hands and legs.
She also said the leader of the SARS team, one Supol Gaji demanded N50,000 from her, and that her other son produced N20,000 which the officers whom she identified by their first names, rejected.
According to Mrs Agnes, her inability to produce the requested sum led to her being beaten and later detained for five days.
“On December 15, they dragged me and started hitting me with a gun and said they were going to publish it on the media that I sent some boys to rob a bank.
“They threatened to kill me, so I used my hands to shield my head because they targeted my head. My son saw when they were beating me with a gun, and he was crying. Thereafter, I went to the hospital for treatment and it was bandaged.
“I was detained for five days from December 15th to 20th, 2006. When my daughter came to visit me during the detention, the police officers beat her and seized her belongings including her phone while instructing her to come back with the N50,000 bail,” she said.
She was eventually released after a relative paid N50,000.
On Tuesday, the witness said that upon her release, the family instituted a case at the Lagos State High Court against the Nigeria Police Force, and that the Police was ordered to release the suspect, which wasn’t obeyed.
Mrs Agnes who spoke in Yoruba language, told the panel through the interpreter provided for her that the family wrote a petition to the Office of the Public Defender in the state on the matter in 2016 and was told that Abayomi was still in detention as at then.
During cross examination, Police Counsel, Cyril Ejiofor asked whether she knew for certain if the officers killed her son, she couldn’t confirm that but said she only knew they arrested him.
Mr Ejiofor also asked for medical evidence of the treatment for the injuries she sustained at the hands of the police beating. But, the chairperson of the Panel, Retired Justice Doris Okuwobi questioned the relevance of the question, saying the main issue before the panel was on her petition surrounding the whereabouts of her son.
The matter is adjourned to May 28.