Forced disappearances tops complains against F-SARS at Rivers Commission of Inquiry

Tina Amanda

Forced disappearances topped the list of complains against the disbanded Special Anti Robbery Squad, F-SARS at the Tuesday hearing of the Rivers State Judicial Commission of Inquiry into police brutality.

One 89 year old Chief Alioma Romeo from Abonema in Akuku-Toru local government area has demanded before the Rivers State Judicial Commission of Inquiry that his son, Silas Romeo, who was arrested by Officers of F-SARS Borokiri in 2016, be released to him alive or the corpse be brought for proper burial.

In his testimony, Chief Romeo explained that his first son who was 54 years old as at then, was arrested on 15 September, 2016, at about 10pm around Aggrey Road, Port Harcourt, on his way back from work by Operatives of F-SARS Borokiri, and is yet to be seen till date

According to him, the last he heard from Silas was same day of the arrest at about 11:35pm, when he called from F-SARS office Borokiri asking him to bring fifty thousand naira to bail him from custody.

He noted that on reaching SARS office the next day with the sum of twenty thousand naira, he was told that his son was not in their custody.

“My son called me by midnight that day and told me he was arrested by Operatives of SARS, that I should come with the sum of fifty thousand naira to bail him. As a firewood seller in Abonema where I reside, I was able to raise twenty thousand naira and I headed to SARS office Borokiri.

“As I got to SARS office, I inquired about my son and they directed me to whom to see, on seeing the officer I told him I want to bail my son and how much I have, the officer harassed me and chased me away that my son is not in their custody.

“I left and went back home, I didn’t have anyone to assist me in releasing my son. I was believing that he will come out from SARS cell, till date I have not heard from him nor seen him physically since 15 September, 2016 he was arrested.

“I want justice, I know SARS has killed him, if he is dead they should bring his corpse so I can bury him and have rest of mind, if he is still alive they should release him. I would have become a crown Chief in my Community, because of his absence I cannot achieve that. I need justice”

Another petitioner, a Retired Custom Officer, Chief Ipalibo Manuel, demanded the corpse of his nephew, Godstime Adokiye be produced and proper investigation be done on his unlawful arrest by Operatives of SARS Borokiri on 30 September, 2016, at Sandfill Borokiri, as he is yet to be seen till date.

“My nephew who was 22 years old as at the time of the arrest, went to play football at Sandfill Borokiri, on his way back in the company of four other players, SARS Officers pounced on them, three others were smart enough to leave the area and he was caught.

“He called me later that I should come to bail him from SARS office Borokiri with the sum of one hundred thousand naira, I went the next day from my base in Abonema with thirty thousand naira I was able to raise.

“On reaching SARS office, they told me that if the money is not upto one hundred thousand, I should not bother coming for his bail. I went back the next day, the officers threatened me and informed me Godstime is not in their custody.

“The shock of his arrest caused a break down in my health, I was hospitalized, till now Godstime Adokiye is no where to be found. I want this to be investigated properly and the officers involved should be brought to book, he was tortured and I know that led to his death”

Chief Manuel however demanded for ten million naira compensation to be paid to the family.

Patrick Dominic Obono also demanded compensation to the tune of five hundred million naira and true justice for his late brother, Ofem Dominic Obono who was arrested at his work place, a hotel in Oyigbo, alongside his manager and other colleagues, on 1st October, 2020 and later tortured to death by Officers of F-SARS led by Assitant Commissioner of Police ACP Olayinka Ojiegbe, Spiff Diepreye, Joseph Jagala and Dorothy Nwabuisi.

“On 1st October, 2020 during the pandemonium in Oyigbo when a police officer was killed and the police decided to carry out vengeance on innocent people, my brother was at his work place where he is in charge of the security department when SARS Operatives stormed the hotel, they arrested him alongside his colleagues and the manager.

“Right from the point of arrest, my brother was beaten to stupor, because he defecated and urinated on his trouser. They took them to Oyigbo Police station and from there, SARS Operatives came on the 3rd October and moved them to the state CID.

“Reaching the Police cell, the beaten continued. My brother was the only alien among them because he was brutally tortured. Even while he was in Police cell, he was using walking stick due to the extent of the beaten.

“My brother complained to the officers about his deteriorating health, the more he complained that he is sick the more they tortured him, he complained of his health but the officers ignored him and left him with out food, drugs or water.

“It was on 13 October, 2020, when they realized he is about to die, they were rushing a dead man to hospital, it was while they were on the way to University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, UPTH, that my brother died on the way.

“I demand true justice. The Officers of F-SARS led by ACP Olayinka Ojiegbe, Spiff Diepreye, Joseph Jagala and Dorothy Nwabuisi who committed this nefarious act should be prosecuted.

“I want adequate compensation of five hundred million naira to be given to the deceased family, my brother left children and a wife behind. No amount of money can be compared to my late brother who was a graduate of mathematics and statistics.”