#EndSARS: Panel Summons Yerima over Alleged Connivance, Torture, Detention of Trader

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By Alex Enumah

The Independent Investigative Panel on alleged human rights violation by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other units of the Nigerian Police yesterday summoned former Zamfara State Governor, Senator Ahmad Yerima, over alleged complicity in the alleged violation of the human rights of businessman.

Yerima is to appear before the panel on January 12, 2021 to answer to allegations that he mobilised some Police Officers to arrest, torture and detain a Katsina State businessman, Alhaji Musa Wapa over a claim of N23million.

The summon was sequel to an application for joinder by the complainant, Alhaji Wapa.

According to the panel, Yerima’s name was mentioned severally in Wapa’s complaint before it, hence the application by Alhaji Wapa on the need for the Sanator to join him as a necessary party is hereby”granted as prayed”.

The complainant testified how Yerima used the IGP- Intelligence Response Team to deny him the payment of N25 million for three trailers of maize he supplied to his farm, Rufai Poultry (Nigeria) Ltd.

In his examination before the 11-Man panel chaired by Justice Suleiman Galadima (rtd), the complainant, informed the panel that Yerima owed him the sum of N25m even as he admitted that he (Wapa) also owe the Senator N23m.

Continuing, he quickly added that while Yerima’s debt was due for payment, the obligation to pay his own debt is not yet due as at June 30th, 2020 when the Senator allegedly paid N3m to the police team comprising of Abdullahi and Zakariyya of Area Command Kano State and IGP-IRT Panteka, Kaduna state to torture and detain him for six days.

He told the panel that on June 30, 2020 at about 6p.m. a police vehicle suddenly stopped where he was repairing his tractor and started beating him in front of other people and later siezed some of his vehicles.

The complainant also narrated how the police officers handcuffed him, while one of them unleashed different forms of tortured to dehumanise him.

Led in his examination by NHRC’s Counsel to the panel, Afolabi Olawale, the merchant stated that the said police officers did not spare his driver who he noted was arrested, put inside Police bus and was driven together with him from Katsina to Kano and later to Kaduna on different days.

According to Alhaji Wapa, the Police Officers gave them beatings while they were inside the bus and that his own personal car which the Police collected from him was also driven by one of the officers to Kano state.

He said that his First Bank account has been frozen as a result of his issue with Senator Yerima and the Police.

Besides, he told the panel that Yerima tricked him to deposit his Certificate of Occupancy in Jaiz bank under the pretext that his money will be paid, “and nothing came out of it”, he added.

Asked what he wants the panel to do for him, he pleaded with the panel for N100million compensation, for the alleged violations and tarnishing of his image, saying the Police made him to appear as a terrorist.

Besides, he prayed the panel to ensure that justice is served in the matter.

In his. cross-examination, counsel to the Nigerian Police, Mr. James Idachaba (DCP), told the panel that Wapa’s arrest was sequel to a court order, which Wapa said he was not aware of.

The matter was adjourned to January 12, 2021 for continuation of hearing.