Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
An officer of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Isaac Edoh, is yet to know the whereabouts of his son, whether dead or alive, for nine years.
Edoh, who is from Benue State, said the last time he saw his son, Baba Edoh, was inside a custody of the Edo State Police Command in 2011.
Narrating his story to the panel in Benin City, he said his son was an undergraduate of English Literature, Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, before he was allegedly killed by the police. He said in June 2011, he received an anonymous call from the State Criminal Investigation Department of Edo State Police Command that his son was arrested along Auchi road for alleged kidnapping.
Edoh told the panel that he immediately took permission from his superior at the office and rushed from Lagos to Benin to see his son but saw him lying in his pool of blood obviously from physical assault and inhuman treatment melted on him.
“I tried speaking with him but was prevented by officers on duty despite knowledge of the relationship between me and the suspect in their custody,” he said.
The customs officer said the following day he visited the station and discovered that the name of his son was not on any of the records of the detainees in the cell.
“I immediately contacted the officer-in-charge of kidnapping section, who informed me that my son was not in their custody. I was informed that he was one of the suspects paraded in a national television on June 4, 2011.
“I was told armed robbers attacked and shot my son while the police was conducting further investigations in Auchi. None of the police officers sustained injuries. The only person they said died was my son. Since his death, the police have refused to release the corpse.
“I later filed a suit in the high court for fundamental rights, and got judgement but unfortunately the police appealed the case on the basis of identity conflict. The court of appeal urged us to return to the high court for retrial. Since then I have been demoralised, and don’t know whether he is alive or dead. All I want is justice,” he said.
Chairman of the panel, Justice Ada Ehigiamusoe (retd), admitted a photograph of the son, Compact Disk (CD) of paraded suspects and court proceedings as exhibits.
The panel adjourned hearing on the case to November 17, so as to get response from the police officers.
Another victim of human rights abuse, Sunday Akpan, told the panel that he was smacked repeatedly on his ear by a police officer for allegedly selling his wife’s refrigerator and shop to pay debt.
His counsel, Festus Obijeko, who spoke to journalists, said the victim is facing hearing difficulties due to the assault he received from the officer.
He added that his client’s condition has made it difficult to fend for his family.