The National Human Rights Commission ( NHRC ) has asked the Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwanbo to assist it with information in relation to circumstances leading to the death of one the governor’s domestic staff, John Okon.
The NHRC’s panel investigating activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police, on Wednesday resolved to write the Gombe Governor to among others, help identify his Aide de Camp (ADC), who allegedly instigated the torture and eventual murder of Okon in the custody of SARS operatives at the Gabassa Police Station, Kaduna.
The panel took the decision during the hearing of a petition submitted to it by lawyer to the late Okon Ballason Gloria Mabeiam.
The panel took evidence from the deceased’s wife, Joy (who attended with her two young children and an aged mother); Inspector Yakubu (who was accused of participating in the torture of Okon) and two medical experts who conducted an autopsy on Okon’s corpse.
Okon was said to be one of “a personal cook and housekeeper to Governor Dankwanbo at his Kaduna residence.” He was said to reside in the boys quarters of the house until November 8, 2018, when the house was burgled and four television sets allegedly stolen.
The incident was first reported at the Kabala Coustain Police Station, where Okon, two policemen, two private security guards and a gardener (all six men) were detained.
It was alleged that upon the instigation of an ADC to the governor, the case was transferred to SARS at Gabasawa Police Station, Kaduna, where Okon was allegedly tortured to death by men of SARS.
Testifying Joy (who struggled to hold back tears and the persistent cry of her baby) ) told the panel how her late husband was beaten, dragged on the floor and denied access to food and water by the policemen, who detained him for several days.
He identified Inspector Yakubu as one of those who tortured her husband, an allegation the policeman denied when called to testify.
Yakubu stunned all when he claimed that the other five men detained with Okon were charged to court, even when there was no evidence against them.
He said the decision to charge the other five was informed by a directive by their Commanding Officer, Supol Jummai.
When told that in one of the documents submitted to the panel, the police had claimed Okon confessed that he committed the offence with one other person, Yakubu insisted that it was Jummai that directed that the others be charged to court.
Two medical experts who came to submit report of the autopsy conducted on Okon, said injuries and bruises he sustained while in Police custody contributed to his death.
Earlier, the panel also resolved to invite ex-Interior Minister, Abbah Moro to appear on January 21 this year.
Moro was accused of authoring a petition, upon which men of SARS invaded Iwewe Community in Benue State and allegedly subjected them to “unlawful arrest, detention and extortion.”
The allegation against Moro came to light when, at the hearing of a petition by members of the Iwewe Community (marked: NHRC/PSARS/2018/ABJ/17/7924/HQ), some policemen who came to testify, claimed the petition on which they acted, was authored by the ex-Minister.