By Godwin Edeh, Reuben Agbeh and Tersoo Pam
A former Minority Leader of the Benue State House of Assembly (BSHA), Mr Mathew Oyinu, has demanded the sum of N50M million as compensation from the police.
Oyinu made the demand while testifying before the eight-man judicial panel of investigation into human rights violations by the Nigeria Police and disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) operatives, sitting in Makurdi, over the alleged murder of his friend by the police.
Oyinu told the panel how his friend, the late Captain Mohammed Olotu (Rtd), who was also the District Head of Ishu in Agatu Local Government Area of Benue state was gruesomely murdered by operatives of disbanded SARS in Makurdi.
He told the panel how Cpt Olotu (Rtd), now deceased visited him at his residence in Wadata area of Makurdi after which they decided to take their time out in their individual cars to where they agreed to relax.
According to him, few metres away from his house, the deceased’s car, a Peugeot 406 with registration number AU 616 MKD was forced to stop by suspected operatives of SARS who appeared suddenly and blocked the road while four hefty men came out of a Hilux van that conveyed them shouting, “where is Captain Olotu who can appear and disappear? We tracked him to Rukubi in Nassarawa state but could not find him.”
He further said, the men pulled the late Army Captain out of his car at gun point, manhandled him and beat him into coma.
The former minority leader and one time Chairman of Agatu Local Government Council said all efforts in pleading with the SARS operatives met stiffer threat as they threatened to shoot him if he made any attempt to plead again.
He submitted that, after they had brutalised and inflicted with injuries on his head and body, they threw the 72-year-old captain into their Hilux van and zoomed off. Egahi testified that, at that point, he beame confused but summoned courage and asked his driver to follow their vehicle until they entered the Nigeria Police Headquarters in Makurdi.
He maintained that he became convinced that they were not hired assassins but true policemen, he immediately contacted his lawyer to secure his release but the police authorities insisted on taking him to court. He was detained for five days as against the constitutional 24 hours.
Oyinu further testified that, it was while they were processing the bail application of Capt Olotu now deceased that he received the sad news of his death after he was said to have slumped at the federal correctional centre and was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre where he was confirmed dead on 31 July, 2019.
The family of the deceased is now demanding the sum of N50M compensation for the death of their father who was married to 3 wives, had 23 children, 15 grand children and 4 great grand children which is now a huge responsibility for the family.
During the hearing, two witnesses testified before the panel, including the son of the deceased, Jibrin Olotu, while six supporting evidence were also adopted by the panel and marked as Exhibit “A” and the matter was adjourned to 1 March, 2021, for further hearing. Six other matters were also entertained by the panel.