SARS Brutality: Rivers Panel Vows Not To Entertain Unnecessary Adjournments

... As Man Narrates How SARS' Stray Bullet Killed 3-Day Old Daughter

By Anayo Onukwugha, Port Harcourt

The Rivers State Judicial Commission of Inquiry on Police brutality, has vowed not to entertain unnecessary requests for adjournment of hearing by petitioners as the Commission has only two months to conclude it’s assignment.

The Commission was set up by Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, to probe into alleged acts of violence, torture, brutality, murder and violation of fundamental rights of citizens committed by officers, men and operatives of the Nigeria Police Force in the state.

This is as a middle-aged man, Nyordeh Sylvanus narrated how his 3-day old daughter was allegedly killed by stray bullet from operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), on the eve of August 14, 2014.

Also, a victim of alleged police brutality, Lucky Eze, has demanded for a compensation of N20million and footing of his medical bills from the Nigeria Police for causing damages to his right ear.

Chairman of the Commission, Hon. Justice Chukwunenye Uriri (Rtd), who spoke yesterday in Port Harcourt, at the resumed hearing on petitions, said panel will only entertain adjournments where there were medical reports to back them up.

Uriri said: “We have over 170 petitions and we are expecting more and we will not tolerate any adjournment. The only thing that can warrant adjournment is medical report. We have only two months to conclude our sitting. We are not here to waste time.”

Meanwhile, one of the petitioners, Nyordeh Sylvanus, told the Commission of Inquiry how stray bullets from SARS operatives, who were shooting sporadically at the Rukpokwu area of Port Harcourt, penetrated the roof of his residence and killed his three-day old daughter.

Sylvanus, who also demanded for justice for his late daughter as well as reroofing of his house damaged by alleged stray bullets from SARS operatives, called on the Rivers State government and Police authority to make efforts to bring an end to incessant sporadic shooting by Police operatives.

He said: “We woke up in the morning of August 15, 2014, to observe that one of the bullets from SARS operatives who were shooting from the night of August 14, 2014, penetrated my roof and killed my only daughter, a three-day old baby.

“I picked the bullet on August 15 morning and went to SARS office and but was stopped at the entrance of the office by operatives who ordered my to turn back or join my dead daughter.”

Another petitioner and resident of Ahoada Town in Ahoada-East local government area of the state, Lucky Eze, demanded for a compensation of N20million and footing of his medical bills from the Nigeria Police for causing damages to his right ear.

Eze, who was a supervisor in a Filling Station in Ahoada Town, said he started having hearing problem with a hole in his inner ear after he was slapped by policemen who invaded place of work on January 28, 2018.

He said: “I came here to seek for justice for brutality and wickedness visited on me by the Police on January 28, 2018. I have been having hearing problem since them. I have five medical reports from five medical doctors if the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) confirming that the slap created a hole in my right ear.

“I am here to seek for justice for two reasons; one is to be able to continue with my treatment which I abandoned due to lack of funds. I didn’t deliberately abandon my treatment; I did do because there was no money. Secondly, I am seeking justice for the brutality they meted on me. I ask this panel that I be compensated with the sum of N20milliion.”

A total of five petitions were heard yesterday by the Commission while a total of six petitions would be heard when the panel resumes sitting on Thursday, November 26, 2020.

It is expected to conclude hearing on all the 171 petitions on December 30, 2020.

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