The Nigeria Police Force has informed the Independent Investigative Panel on allegations of human rights violations by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) that some of their officers were wrongly mentioned by Prince Chigaemezu Ojinnaka who alleged that he was shot by the police, whereas he was actually shot by an officer of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC).
A prosecution witness, CSP Dan Iroakazi, yesterday while being led by police counsel, Fidelis Ogwobe, testified before the 11-member panel presided over by Dr. Garba Tentengi (SAN) on behalf of the chairman, Justice Suleiman Galadima (rtd) that it was a personnel of the NSCDC on Operation Search and Flush that shot the petitioner and not the police as alleged.
Testifying before the panel, CSP Dan Iroakazi, who heads one of the police operations in Imo State, told the panel that there was a security outfit created by the Imo State government called Operation Search and Flush.
CSP Iroakazi disclosed that the outfit is made up of all security agencies in Nigeria namely; the Police, Army, Air force, Customs, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA), Nigerian Correctional Service, DSS, and they all work as a joint task team. However, administratively they report independently to their superiors within their jurisdiction.
‘Operation Search and Flush, has its designated location within the 27 LGA in Imo State to monitor the security situation. For the police, the operation vehicle is tagged N0.18 covering Njaba LGA, while NSCDC is tagged N0. 39 and they cover Isu LGA where the incident allegedly happened. On that fateful day, I received a call that there was a mob attack on the police team at Njaba LGA, while a boy was shot at Isu LGA, immediately I called the Commander of Operation Search and Flush of the Nigerian Correctional Service and that of NSCDC before they proceeded to the hospital where the petitioner was taken to, from the narration the petitioner gave, the location of the incident and the number on the security vehicle made him to know it was not the police that shot him as alleged, rather it was the NSCDC’, he testified.
On cross-examination, counsel to the petitioner, Eusepius Anyanwu, urged the panel to give him a short time to gather his documents to cross-examine the CSP on his testimony before the panel. From the foregoing, Dr Garba Tetengi SAN instructed all parties to provide documentary evidence of the investigation. He told the police to bring out the evidence that it was the NSCDC and not the police that shot the boy, saying this would help the police clear its name.
It will be recalled that in February 2021, Prince Ojinnaka testified that two policemen shot him on his foot at close range around Amuzie Omanze road, Umuku/Isu Njaba community, and immediately fled the scene in a van marked NO 18 with the inscription of “Search and Flush”.