Two petitioners have appealed to the #EndSARS panel sitting in Abuja over cases of police brutality to help secure the release of their family members from illegal police detention.
According to Premium Times, Ismail Mairungo and Blessing Choji-Dung jointly petitioned the panel over the alleged detention of their family members by the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IGP-IRT) since December 2019.
According to the petitioners, the police unit arrested Mairungo’s two brothers, Danjuma Yakubu and Ibrahim Daniel, in Jada, Adamawa State, and Todi, Gombe State, respectively, on December 13, 2019.
They said Mrs Choji-Dung’s husband, Choji Dung, who was said to be Yakubu’s friend, was arrested on December 17, 2019 in Buruku in Plateau State.
The IGP-IRT was then under the leadership of Abba Kyari, a deputy commissioner of police, who was suspended last year following his indictment by United States authorities for an international fraudulent scheme.
Kyari, who has a series of petitions of rights violations pending against him before the #EndSARS panel, was also recently charged with cocaine trafficking-related offences, while the Nigerian government pursues a suit for his extradition to the U.S. in court.
Mairungo and Mrs Choji-Dung, on Thursday, called on the #EndSARS to order an unconditional release of their family members and award N10million compensation for each of them allegedly detained by the IRT.
Testifying before the panel, Mairungo said his brothers – Yakubu and Daniel – were arrested on December 13, 2019. He did not elaborate on Daniel’s arrest.
But he said Yakubu whom he added was a police officer serving in the police anti-riot unit in Jada, Adamawa State, was arrested after obtaining his commandant’s permission to visit his family.
The witness said Yakubu called to inform his wife that he was on his way, but never got home.
“We didn’t hear from him again for three days. I went to Jada to find out his whereabouts from his commandant and he confirmed that he took a leave and has been unreachable since then,” Mairungo narrated.
He said he later found out from the Assistant Inspector General of Police headquarters in Yola that his brother had been arrested.
“They refused to mention who arrested him, but I was told by someone at the headquarters in secret that he had been arrested by the IGP-IRT,” Mairungo added.
He told the panel that he visited the IGP-IRT’s office sometimes in January 2020 where he met with Kyari, who he said just took down the details of the detainee.
He said despite all efforts, his brother had not been released, adding that his mother had died as a result of the matter.
“One of Yakubu’s daughters also died,” he said, adding “I want the panel to help me look for them and let me go home with them, and compensate them with N10 million each.”
Meanwhile, Mrs Choji-Dung also described to the #EndSARS panel how her husband, who was said to be a friend to Yakubu, was arrested by the IGP-IRT on December 17, 2019.
“I was at home with my husband when he received a call from from Mr Yakubu to come to the Primary school nearby the house. I followed him carefully and saw two vehicles, black and white hummer buses with tinted glass,” Choji-Dung narrated.
According to her, there was bold IGP-IRT inscription on the buses the men drove to their house.
“They hijacked him and started shooting that nobody should come closer. They handcuffed him and dragged him into one of the buses,” Choji-Dung said.
She added that she immediately went to a nearby police station to report the incident and she was told that the team was from Abuja.
“We went to Abuja, but the police didn’t grant him bail. He was later charged to court but the police refused to bring him to court.
“We haven’t heard anything since then. I want the police to release my husband and also compensate him with N10 million to re-start his life,” she pleaded.
The panel after listening to both petitioners adjourned the case until March 8 for cross- examination by the police legal team.
The police legal team members were absent from the proceedings.