#EndSARS: I last saw my son in 2006 after SARS’ arrest

The mother of a man allegedly detained by the police, on Saturday, told the Lagos State Panel of Inquiry and Restitution on cases of police brutality, that she last set eyes on her son 15 years ago.

Titi Agnes said her son, Taiwo, was waylaid and arrested by the now-disbanded police unit – Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) while on his way to work early 2006 and till today has not been found.

Mrs Agnes said on the day she last saw her son, he was chained on both hands and legs by the police.

The ordeal

Recounting the incident to the panel, Mrs Agnes, who was appearing before the panel the second time, said two days after Mr Taiwo (her son) had christened his newborn, he was picked while driving to work and his car was taken by the officers.

“While he was driving, the police parked by his side and said you are under arrest. Then he asked what his offence was. As he entered their vehicle they took his car and took him to the SARS office.

“He gave someone my number to call me. Then I called his younger brother who manages his business in Ajegunle.

“So, myself and his brother went to the police station but they did not say he committed any offence. So, I met one SARS officer called Gaji, then he said someone ordered (whose name was not disclosed) Taiwo’s arrest.”

Speaking through an interpreter, Mrs Agnes said before the arrest, her son had received a phone call from an unknown person requesting his presence but he refused.

“So, I go there every day (police station),… then one of the police officers told me that if I know that I want to bail my son, I should get N50,000. So, I met him there and I told him (Mr Taiwo) that they said we should bring N50,000, he was handcuffed and he enquired that what was his offence and N50,000 for what?

“So, his brother came with N20,000 that I should use that to appeal to them but they told me that if the N50,000 is not completed I will be used as the ransom for the money.

Police harassment

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According to Mrs Agnes, her inability to produce the N50,000 ‘bail’ requested by the police officers led to her being beaten and later detained for five days.

“On December 15, they dragged me and started hitting me with a gun and said they were going to publish it on the media that I sent some boys to rob a bank.

“They threatened to kill me, so I used my hands to shield my head because they targeted my head. My son saw when they were beating me with a gun, and he was crying. Thereafter, I went to the hospital for treatment and it was bandaged (she showed the scars on her hands).

“I was detained for five days from December 15th to 20th, 2006. When my daughter came to visit me during the detention, the police officers beat her and seized her belongings including her phone while instructing her to come back with the N50,000 bail,” she said.

She was eventually released after a relative paid N50,000.

The head of the panel, Doris Okuwobi, adjourned till May 4 for continuation of the hearing.

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