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… Seeks N500M For Victim’s Family
By: Ade Adeleke
An Akure based- human rights lawyer, Mr Morakinyo Ogele, has dragged the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to court over the mysterious death of a suspect, Mr Razak Ahmed, in the custody of the Ondo State Command of the Corps.
Ahmed was arrested last month by officers of the NSCDC for allegedly having carnal knowledge of his eighth-year-old daughter and allegedly died in the Corps’ cell after three days of torturing to extract confessional statements from him.
The State spokesperson of NSCDC, Mr Samuel Oladapo, denied the allegation, saying the suspect committed suicide in the corps’ custody.
Commandant Ideba Awili Pedro was in-charge of the command when the incident happened before his recent redeployment from Ondo state.
Pedro was recently honoured by Governor Oluwarotim Akeredolu with other security chiefs.
However not satisfied with the command’s explanation that the suspect committed suicide inside the command’s cell, Mr Ogele approached the Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure to seek justice for the deceased and his family.
The human rights lawyer is seeking the Court’s order directing Nigeria Police to investigate NSCDC officers who allegedly tortured Ahmed to death.
He is also seeking an order directing the Corps to hand over the officers to the police for proper investigation and prosecution of the culprits.
Ogele is further asking the court to order NSCDC to pay a sum of N500 million as damages to the family of Ahmed.
Besides, the legal practitioner wants the court to direct the security agency to subject all its officers to psychiatric test and stop them from torturing their suspects in order to obtain confessional statements.
In a 33-paragraph-affidavit, Ogele said he initiated the suit on behalf of the family of the deceased and in the public interest.
“The family members of the deceased have been calling on human rights organizations to help them get justice.
“This is because NSCDC is trying to cover up this extra judicial killing. They felt unconcerned about the gruesome act against the family of the deceased.
“Their spokesman declared that the man committed suicide in their custody without giving evidence. I think NSCDC is a security agency established to protect lives and properties in Nigeria. Its officers are not expected to take any life,” Ogele said.
Reacting to the allegation last month, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ondo State Command, had refuted the claim that it killed a suspect, Mr Rasak Ahmed, in its custody, who was arrested for having carnal knowledge with his 8 years old daughter in Akure.
Mr Samuel Oladapo, the command’s Public Relations Officer(PRO) told newsmen in Akure that the suspect was arrested following a complaint by his son, Ibrahim, that his father was having carnal intercourse with his sister.
“The suspect was arrested by our men at our out-post station and brought to the state headquarters on Monday for proper investigations.
“And during our investigation, Ahmed confessed to the offence and attributed it to devil’s work.
“Before he was detained in the cell, he was complaining and begging that he should be allowed to put on his ‘buba’and ‘sokoto’ because he had cold which we obliged.
“Meanwhile, he was brought to the headquarters around 6pm and surprisingly, when one of our men approached his cell to deliver food brought by one of his relatives and he was found dangling on iron door of the cell being a short man, having torn his cloth to hang himself.
“It was unfortunate that he was the only inmate in the cell which made it easy for him to carry out the dastardly act,”he stated.
According to him, NSCDC is civil and does not torture suspect let alone killing a suspect.
“The motto of NSCDC is civil. We do not torture because it has not been our tradition and it is against our mandate,”he said.
The PRO noted that the corpse had been deposited in a government hospital for autopsy, saying that police had commenced their investigation to confirm the causes of the death.
The result of the autopsy is yet to be made public since the incident happened.