A woman, Patience Imaikop, on Monday, told the Edo State Judicial Panel of Inquiry for victims of SARS and related abuses how her husband, Samuel, was killed on his way to the farm by operatives of the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
Mr Imalkop was allegedly murdered by SARS operatives alongside three of his labourers on November 24, 2013 along the Benin-Auchi road.
Mrs Imaikop, who appeared before the panel on Monday, is demanding N50 million compensation from the Nigeria Police Force for the killing of her husband.
In an emotion-laden voice, Mrs Imaikop told the panel that her late husband, who had had an altercation with some SARS operatives along the Benin Bypass area, was killed by the same police squad and immediately tagged as an armed robber.
She said that after killing her husband and his labourers, their bodies were hurriedly taken away and buried in a shallow grave.
Mrs Imaikop said, “When I got the news of my husband’s death, I rushed to the scene of the incident, hired a car and I traced them to their station, which happened to be the Edo State Police Command Headquarters in GRA, Benin City.
“The police loaded the dead bodies of my husband and his three labourers into their van, while an officer drove my husband’s vehicle along with them to the station. When I got to the police station, I identified myself as the wife of Mr Samuel Imaikop.”
She further disclosed that she was beaten and locked up by the police for daring to trace the husband’s corpse.
“I was severely beaten up, accused of being a wife of the leader of an armed robbery gang and I was detained for four nights without food and water and even without them taking my statement. I was released five days later after the intervention of my lawyer.
“To cover their evil deeds, the police hurriedly buried my husband and the labourers, whom he hired from 2+2 junction, a popular spot around the Aduwawa-Eyaen axis of the Benin-Auchi Express road,” she said.
Mrs Imaikop said that the family, however, mounted pressure on the police to exhume the body of her husband for an autopsy and that the result from the autopsy revealed that he died from bullet wounds.
“That upon the order of His Lordship F.E.N Igbinosa in suit No. MOR/1/MISC/03/2013, filed by B. A. Iluobe, Esq, the police vide a letter with reference number AR3000/EDS/X/LEG./VOL.III/47 invited and took me and my lawyer and a pathologist to the burial site.
“The body was exhumed and although decomposed, I was able to recognise my late husband because of the clothes he wore before he left the house that day.
“The pathologist and the court both arrived at a well-considered conclusion that my husband died of gunshot wounds fired by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Edo State Police Command,” she said.
Similarly, Rosemary Amadin, through her counsel, J.I Omorogbe, approached the panel, asking for N25 million as compensation from the panel over the death of her husband, Amadin Odewingie.
Mrs Amadin told the panel that her husband, a truck driver, was chased to his death by SARS officers attached to the Edo State Police Command at Ologbo in 2019.
She said in order to avoid being shot by the police, he decided to jump into the Ologbo River and when he called out for help, the police allegedly threatened to kill anyone who volunteered to help him.
She said that the police allegedly watched him drown in the river.
After listening to both testimonies, chairperson of the panel, Ada Ehigiamusoe, a retired judge, adjourned proceedings for the police to state their side of the story.