There was anger at the Abuja panel hearing allegations of human rights violations by the police on Monday after the police confirmed that a man illegally held in their custody since November 2019 had died.
Accused in the disappearance and subsequent death of the man identified as Edward Dumisara are three senior officers attached to the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team, Martin Samuel, Essien Edet and David Agbo.
The elder brother of the victim, Confidence Leera, brought a petition on the matter before the Abuja panel, adding that the family and even his pregnant wife had not set eyes on Mr Dumisara since his arrest in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, by the officers in November 2019.
At the hearing on Monday, the police told the panel that Mr Dumisara died during investigation, causing surprise and an outburst of tears from family members at the sitting.
Mr Leera, a local government councillor in Rivers State, noted that his first contact with Mr Agbo, an ASP, was in 2019 when the deceased was arrested alongside nine others in a case of possession of firearms retrieved from repentant militants in the area.
The deceased was later released on bail in August 2019, only for the ASP to call on September 14 2019, demanding N3 Million for the closure of the case against his brother. However, Mr Leera rejected the offer.
Mr Agbo then called the family on November 3, 2019, to inform them that the deceased was arrested for alleged involvement in a kidnap operation.
“We filed a suit for his release to the Rivers State High Court in December 2019, and the judgement was delivered in our favour. The judge ordered that N5,000 should be paid for each day he remained in detention until his release,” Mr Leera said, adding that the police disregarded the order and filed a countersuit against his brother in January 2020.
However, as a result of the police’ inability to present Mr Dumisara before the court, the case was struck out in August 2020.
Premium Times reports that although the officer denied the allegation of demanding N3 million for the release of the victim, original bank statements showed that Mr Agbo collected N5,000 and N20,000 directly from Mr Leera and one of the victim’s family members, while the case lingered on.
The Justice Suleiman Galadima-led panel adjourned the case to January 11, 2021, to enable lawyers of parties involved to study new relevant documents related to the case.