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11.09.2021 EndSARS Watch ‘SARS Murdered My Son, Withheld His Body Since 2012’ – Man Tells Judicial Panel

Published 11th Sep, 2021

By Daniel Ojukwu

For Wahab Muhammed, August 25 will always be remembered, as it marks the day his son was arrested and killed by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

Although a high court in Lagos directed SARS and the Police to produce Wahab’s son dead or alive, both parties failed to comply, and he continues to seek justice nine years after.

On Friday, Wahab’s case was heard by the Lagos State Judicial Panel on Restitution for Victims of SARS-Related Abuses and Other Matters for the first time since its inauguration.

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He told the panel, in a printed statement sighted by our reporter, that Saheed Muhammed, his son, had gone to work as a bricklayer on that fateful Wednesday with the hope of returning the following day, but was arrested by SARS operatives on suspicion of robbery.

Wahab would later learn from one Inspector Okereke, a SARS officer, that his son “had been killed in the cell for armed robbery.”

Part of his statement read: “I went to Ilogbo Police Station the next day, being Friday, 17th August 2012, to find out what had transpired before dawn. The officer we met at the reception confirmed the arrest of our son and showed us the statement written by him, and we immediately demanded to see him, but we were told that he had been moved to Magbo police station.

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“At this point, the officer referred us to Morogbo Police Station at Magbo, along Badagry expressway. On getting there, we were told our son was not there, and that we should go to SARS office at Ikeja to see our son.”

It was at the SARS office that he was told that there had been no recent armed robbery case report received with his son’s name from Morogbo Police Station.

He left and returned after a month with a lawyer. The DPO confirmed Saheed’s arrest and referred him back to the Ikeja Special Squad Unit where he met Okereke, the officer in charge of the case.

“On getting back to SARS, Ikeja, Inspector Okereke admitted to receiving the file and the report about Saheed Muhammed. He, however, expressed shock by asking what I was doing with a lawyer when my son had been killed in a cell for an armed robbery case,” he said.

The matter was taken to a high court sitting in Lagos, and it granted an order directing SARS and the Police to produce his son dead or alive. A copy of the ruling was tendered before the panel.

Wahab said that when he started pursuing the matter, he had no interest in damages for unlawful detention of his son, but his immediate release. But it soon dawned on him that his son was indeed murdered in custody, and the source of his livelihood and that of his family was snatched.

He urged the panel to give an order for restitution in the interest of justice.

The matter was adjourned until September 24.

Published 11th Sep, 2021

By Daniel Ojukwu

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