The State Judicial Commission of Inquiry on Police Brutality on Friday, 22nd January 2021, visited a property owned by a victim of Police brutality, late Olisa Vincent Anyadike, who was alleged to have been arrested and murdered by officers of SARS Operatives in May 2007.
Justice Chukwuneye Uriri led the team of panellists to inspect the property, which is said to have been confiscated by the Nigerian Police Force and converted to the current Choba Police station in Obio Akpor local government area.
Welcoming the State Judicial Commission, the Area Commander Choba Area Command, ACP Stephen Okunade, said he does not know how the building came about, as the Area Command was not in existence when the incident occurred in 2007.
According to him, he was posted as the second Area Commander in 2019, where he took over from the first Area Commander, ACP Patrick Daaor who served from 2017-2019, adding that the property has been in use as a Police station for long before the Area Command was created.
“I was told that it is a private property converted to the current Choba Police station by reason of crime. I don’t know about the full details of the building, it has been in use as a Police Station before the Area Command was created in 2017, I don’t have any document or know how long it has been in use, even the current DPO of the Division just resumed a few weeks ago”
Our correspondent reports that the Panel urged the Police Command to provide the Commission with information on how the said property was acquired, how it was assigned to the Police for use, who confiscated the building, is it the court or government.
Also, Counsel to the petitioner A human Right Advocate, the President and Founder Crusade for Justice, Richard Nwankwo, said the brutal killing of late Olisa Vincent Anyadike by SARS Officers and his property confiscated by the Police is a setup by some people and SARS Operatives, and not armed robbery case as alleged.
“He was arrested from the present-day location of Area Command and Divisional Command of the Nigerian Police Force Choba, on 26th May 2007. Four days after his arrest, we flew in from Abuja to Port Harcourt, we were able to see him and interview him. It became clear that it was a setup by some individuals in collaboration with Officers of SARS Borokiri at that time.
“One shocking thing that happened, four days after my engagement and interview with Olisa, I came back to take up the case only to be told that the young man was dead. An investigation carried out revealed that he was murdered.
“The house was almost completed, I know the building because he was a family friend, we were even contemplating on putting tenants there before they picked him and seventeen (17) of his workers from the property and that was how Police eventually took over the property.
“We did what we ought to do to get justice, I wrote a petition to the Inspector General of Police, I had an audience with the IG, I had an audience with the then Speaker House of Representative Dimeji Bankole, our presentations necessitated setting up of a panel, two-three days before the panel was to sit, I flew into Port Harcourt, only to get emissaries from the SARS team who threatened that if I love my life I should leave Port Harcourt.
“When I contacted my clients, I found out that they have been similarly threatened, the family held an urgent meeting and decided that they cannot afford to lose another member of the family, having lost their main breadwinner, that we should allow everything to lie in the hands of God.
“I believe the hand of God is now the EndSars protest that brought us here. We are asking the Police to return his corpse wherever they buried him, Police should return his property, the current Choba Police station. We are asking for rent for the thirteen years they have occupied the building”