By Anayo Onukwugha, Port Harcourt
A 56 year-old man, Nicholas Nwokoro, has told the Rivers State Judicial Commission of Inquiry on Police brutality how operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) made him to loss his sight in 2009.
He is therefore demanding for the sum of N8million from the Nigeria Police to enable him return to an Indian hospital, so as to conclude his surgical procedures.
Nwokoro, who appeared before the Hon. Justice Chukwunenye Uriri (Rtd) -led Commission yesterday in Port Harcourt, said he was beating up by SARS operatives for backing his vehicles behind theirs at the Olu Obasanjo Police Station in Port Harcourt.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP later, the victim said: “By early 2009, I was driving back to Port Harcourt from Aba. I was called by my wife that my sister-in-law was locked up at the Olu Obasanjo Police Station. I had to drive straight to Olu Obasanjo Police Station. On reaching there, I parked my bus and entered into the Police Station to see her and know what was happening.
“So, after I saw her, they said she had a matter with expatriates then at the Presidential Hotel. They said they have discharged the white people and that I should bail my sister-in-law. They said I should pay N10,000 and I paid N10,000. I later came out of the Police Station with my sister-in-law. As I came out of the Police Station, I walked straight to where I parked my vehicle beside a SARS vehicle.
“For me to enter the bus from the driver’s side, what I saw was blows from everywhere on my body. Some of them were using the boot of their gun to hit me and one of them was blowing Mr on my face. I couldn’t see again at that moment.
“Then, policemen who were inside the Police Station rushed out to rescue me from the SARS operatives. After the beating, my two eyes were swollen. The ASP who handled my sister-in-law’s matter went back to her office, brought the N10,000 I gave to them and gave it to the policemen to take my to a nearby Chemist or Pharmacy for first aid.
“So, the policemen took me to a Chemist behind the Police Station where I was given first aid treatment with eye-drops and pain relieve drugs. I couldn’t see again and I cannot drive back again but luckily, my brother who came with me is also a driver. That was how I became blind.
“From there, we started going from hospital to hospital in Port Harcourt, Owerri and Cross River State. From Cross River, I was referred to Military Hospital, Abak where a surgery was performed on one of my eyes and said pressure is on my eyes and it had transformed to glacoma. They did surgery on my left eye seven times no success and they did two times on my right eye, yet no success.
“They referred me to one hospital in India and I went and after examining me, the Indian hospital said the surgeries were wrong and even the eye-drops that I was given were not original.
“I came here so see if the Police authority can help me go back to India. Even if it means seeing with only 30 percent of my sight, I will be okay for life. I am demanding for N8million naira because the Indian hospital is already waiting for me.”