Witness to Lagos panel: My cousin lost memory, developed brain tumour after torture by SARS

Lagos panel

Proceedings at the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing allegations of human rights abuses against men of the disbanded Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad continued on Tuesday with a businessman, Chukwu Vincent, telling the panel that his cousin, Basil Ejiagwa, who is now dead, suffered loss of memory and eventually developed a brain tumour after he was tortured by SARS operatives in May 2014.

Vincent told the retired Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel that after struggling with failing health for six years following the torture by policemen, his cousin eventually died last week on November 17, 2020.

He said Ejiagwa died in his village in Imo State, where he was relocated to from Lagos as his health continued to deteriorate and he became a shadow of his old self.

Led in evidence by the petitioner’s lawyer, T.O. Gazali, Vincent told the panel that his cousin was arrested in May 2014 while coming back from Alaba International Market, Lagos, where he worked.

He said his cousin was picked up by policemen in the Igando area of Lagos and taken to the Igando Police Station he was detained for five days and tortured.

Vincent told the panel that policemen at Igando Police Station broke his cousin’s two legs with a “brick iron hammer”.

He said he was thereafter transferred to SARS office in Ikeja, where he was further tortured, leading to the fracture of his skull.

Vincent said when Ejiagwa was eventually released on May 31, 2014, they said that his head had been broken with the butt of a gun.

“Thereafter, he couldn’t walk anymore; he could not even remember certain things again,” Vincent said.

According to him, part of the things the victim could not remember was that he had placed an order for the importation of some goods.

Vincent said Ejiagwa was rushed to one El-Shadai Hospital in Igando but he was rejected and referred to the Lagos State General Hospital at Igando.

He said though Ejiagwa’s condition improved after some time and “he could walk and do certain things,” he later developed a brain tumour, which, according to him, was traced to the fracture of his skull due to the torture by SARS operatives. Punch

 

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