The Lagos State Panel of Judicial Inquiry into complaints of human rights violations by men of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), was yesterday told a by a trader, Mr. Ndukwe Ekwekwe, how he ended up in a wheelchair after being thrown down from a two-storey building by SARS operatives on February 16, 2018 in Lagos.
Ekwekwe, who was escorted to the hearing by his mother, told the panel that he was a dealer in phone accessories and other items, using three shops at Alaba market.
Speaking in Pidgin English, the trader said trouble came when four arms-wielding SARS men showed up around 2p.m on February 16, 2018 in his shop at Alaba and began to handcuff him without any explanation.
Ekwekwe said when he asked for his offence, the officers simply told him they were acting on the order of the Inspector-General of Police.
He said when his neighbours in the market came around to inquire what was happening, the policemen began to shoot in the air and fired tear gas to disperse them.
He said when he brought out his phone to call his mother, one of the officers snatched it and smashed it on the ground and began to stab him in his hand, neck and back, while another hit his head with the butt of a gun.
He said while being whisked to SARS office in Ikeja, the policemen dispossessed him of N58,000 that was on him.
He said he was stripped naked and taken to the SARS torture ground where other SARS officers tortured others suspects.
He said on getting to the torture ground naked, the SARS men on ground began to slap him, while one of them asked the officers who brought him, “whether they should fire me, but the people who brought me said no.”
“This kind thing pass me; this kind thing, I no go pray make e happen to my enemy,” Ekwekwe said.
“Till date, I don’t know my crime,” the trader added.
He said he was taken back to his shop in the night of the following day, where the policemen used hammer to break down his shops and began to auction his goods.
The trader claimed he had goods worth N15million in his shops.
He said when he began to agitate, the policemen threw him down from the second floor of the building, resulting in a spinal cord injury, leading to his confinement into a wheelchair, after a surgical operation.
Ekwekwe said he sold his house and land and his family lost everything trying to offset the hospital bills.
The retired Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel admitted as exhibits several hospital documents and photographs.
The panel adjourned till November 13 to hear Ekwekwe’s mother’s side of the story.