THE Lagos State Judicial Panel of Enquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS-related abuses and other matters on Tuesday heard how a businessman, Basil Chetal Ejiagwa, was tortured in 2014 till he lost the use of his legs and suffered brain damage.
Ejiagwa, who partially lost his memory, also had a brain tumour last Tuesday (November 17), while receiving treatment in his village in Imo State.
His cousin, Vincent Chukwu, who testified on Ejiagwa’s behalf, appealed to the panel for help to recover the N40 million damages awarded against the police by the Federal High Court in Lagos.
Chukwu said Ejiagwa was a trader at the Alaba International Market in Lagos and was arrested in May 2014 at the Igando area of the state by police officers from the Igando Police Station.
“He spent five days at the Igando Police Station and, while he was there, they used a hammer to break his legs.
“He was then transferred to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Ikeja. While there, they broke his head by hitting it several times with the butt of a gun.
“He spent nine days at SARS and was released on May 31, 2019. At that time, he could not walk anymore and could not remember certain things.
“He couldn’t even remember that he had placed an order for the importation of some goods,” Chukwu said.
The distraught brother said his cousin, who lived at 23 Jazz Avenue, New Iba, Lagos, was initially taken to El-Shaddai Hospital in Igando, but was rejected and referred to the Igando General Hospital.
“From the result of the hospital, they said the use of a gun butt on his head made him to lose his memory,” he said.
Ejiagwa also developed a brain tumour, the agitated cousin said.
“At the time, he had injuries all over his head; the brain tumour did not start immediately,” he said.
Chukwu said his cousin initially could not physically function properly, but had become slightly better.
In 2017, Ejiagwa filed a case against SARS at the Federal High Court in Lagos.
On April 16, 2019, N40 million damages was awarded by the court against SARS in Ejiagwa’s favour.
Chukwu recalled that before the judgment was delivered, his cousin’s health had worsened and that he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
He said the family had not been able to receive the N40 million damages awarded by the court from the police.
“I appeal to the panel to help the family recover what the judgment had given to us.
“When the tumour became bad, he was taken out of Lagos to the East for treatment because when you look at him, you will see a different person.
“He, however, died exactly a week ago, on November 17,” he said.
The counsel to the petitioner, Mr. Olalekan Ghazali, tendered a copy of the Federal High Court judgment and hospital receipts worth N1 million to the panel, as exhibits.
Ghazali had told the court that Ejiagwa sustained several fractures which eventually developed into a brain tumour.
25 N0V 2020 @17:16 GMT