Panel orders immediate arraignment of suspect in custody for more than 1 year

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THE Independent Investigative Panel on the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) on Thursday ordered the police to immediately arraign a suspect before a competent court of jurisdiction in Benue on or before Dec. 23.

The suspects, Raphel Tersoo Toona, and Moses Mfe, had through their Counsel, Mr N.T. Utsaha, petitioned the panel, alleging arbitrary arrest and detention as well as cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

They joined one Insp. Vincent Makinde of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IGP-IRT); Commander IGP-IRT, the FCT Commissioner of Police and the IGP in the suit.

The Panel Chairman, retired Justice Suleiman Galadima, gave the order for Toona’s arraignment, following Utsaha’s application for either his conditional or unconditional release on bail, pending the hearing of the petition.

Galadima ordered that the first complaint should be taken to Benue to be arraigned before a court of competent jurisdiction on or before Dec. 23.

He added that: “His bail should be considered, considering the fact that he has been in detention for more than a year”.

Galadima adjourned hearing of the petition until March 2, 2021.

Earlier, Counsel for the respondents, Mr Fidelis Ogbobe, informed the panel that the first respondent, Insp. Makinde was seriously sick and was currently in Lagos.

He stated also that the Commander of the IGP-IRT, DCP. Abba Kyari, was currently in Katsina State for a special assignment.

The panel had on Dec. 14, summoned the two officers to appear before it today.

Ogbobe said that he met with Toona on Dec. 16 at the IGP-IRT office in Abuja, where he was currently being held and interviewed him.

According to him, his findings reveal that the police approached the Grade One Area Court, Nyanya, sitting at Mpape and got a remand order for the first complaint at the Suleja Correctional Centre.

He added that based on the legal advice received by the police that Toona’s alleged offence was committed in Benue and as such should be arraigned there, the police went to take him from Suleja Correctional Centre.

Speaking on Moses Mfe, Ogbobe informed court that the second complainant was dead.

He said that from his investigation at the office of the second respondent, they said he fell sick and was taken to the police clinic at Area 1, Garki.

He was treated and discharged. “On Nov. 19, 2020, he fell sick again and was rushed to the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, where he later died.”

He further told the panel that there was a wireless message, dated Nov. 23, sent from the IGP-IRT office to the IGP office, notifying the police boss of Mfe’s death, adding that autopsy had been requested.

Ogbobe added that he had directed one Sgt. Godfrey Odoh to go to the hospital and get information in respect of the corpse.

NAN

– Dec. 17, 2020 @ 08: 15 GMT /

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