A victim of alleged police brutality, Terfa Gundu, 34, has prayed the Judicial Panel of Inquiry sitting in Makurdi in Benue State to grant him N5 billion as compensation for the ordeal he suffered in the hands of the security operatives.
Gundu, whose case was the second to be mentioned at the panel’s inaugural sitting on Monday in Makurdi, narrated his experience, which according to him occurred on March 4, 2020.
He said he left his house to get provisions at a neighbourhood store when operatives of the Nigeria Police Mobile Force 13, Makurdi, allegedly swooped on him, took him away, and then tortured him almost to the point of death.
Our correspondent gathered that the security personnel were combing the area to apprehend a thief who broke into their boss’ house and made away with some of his valuables when they allegedly picked up the victim.
“At around 8:00 am on that fateful day, I was going to buy some items at a store in the neighbourhood when I was rounded up by six operatives of Police Mobile Force. There were two vehicles – a Peugeot 406 Saloon and a Hilux Van.
“They seized me, handcuffed me and took me to their office (Mopol 13 Squadron), and asked me to produce items I have stolen from their oga’s house. When I denied knowledge, they asked me to squat with my hands on my knees, which I did. They then brought an iron rod, put it across my knees and hands, jacked me up on the hanger, and mercilessly beat me. Not satisfied, they brought petrol, poured on me and ignited fire on my back.
“When it became unbearable, I asked them to bring me down and then I told them I stole all the items in my house but they insisted that I mentioned the other three people who carried out the operation with me so I had to falsify non-existent names.
“They insisted that I take them to one of my friends that we committed the act together. It was then that I led them to my mother’s office and when they couldn’t identify anyone with the name I gave them, they brought me to SARS’ office at the Police Headquarters in Makurdi.
“This was after they went to my house and packed things like Plasma TV with decoder, my video camera, small generator, my tripod and sound system which I had under duress told them were stolen. But when my brother showed up with all the invoices of purchase, the items were released to him.
“I am not a thief. I have a Car Wash stand and a video recording outfit. In fact, I was putting finishing touches on the video I recorded during the thanksgiving service in honour of the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, when I went out to get some items that I needed and in the process, I was arrested,” the victim said.
Gundu also showed off the scars of burns on his buttocks, waist, and wounds around his ankle, apparently from the iron rod, fuel and fire that were used on him, adding that he sustained injuries on his scrotum as well.