The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) has added a new body to countless killings in the country.
Hamilton Osahenhen Obazee, a father of two was killed in custody by SARS and attempted to lie about it.
Like many others, Hamilton only crime was that he was at the hotel where the security operatives raided.
In a country where the government could barely provide the basic amenities, Nigerians search for charging points to charge their phones.
This is what Hamilton was doing on March 6 at Megon Guest House opposite S&T Barrack in Benin, Edo State when SARS operative raided the hotel.
He was whisked away while the police seized his mobile phone. Days after his death, the family was not informed until they started asking questions.
Mercy Obazee, Hamilton older sister who narrated the ordeal to NAIJA CENTER said “My brother went there to charge his phone. On that day, the OC SARS just raided the place and Hamilton was arrested. They seized his phone and didn’t allow him to call any member of his family.
“We started looking for him and days after people told us that Hamilton was one of the arrested persons. On Monday morning, we ran to the SARs office to look for him.
“The officials told us to go home and return the next day. They said when we are coming back, we must come with a lawyer because we will be going to court.
“On Tuesday we returned to the station with our lawyer. The lawyer went in and came out minutes later and told us to go home. He later called us on the phone that he didn’t want us to cause a scene at the station, but the police told him that our brother is late and his body has been deposited at the mortuary.
“On Wednesday, we went to the state CID, SARS office, and nothing happened. Then we went back on Thursday and they attended to us. They came with a file and took us to one office. There, they told us that they raided Mego and arrested my brother.
“I asked them what happened to my brother and they said ‘he didn’t do anything, in that process, some prisoners were fighting him and that is why he died, so they took him to the mortuary. They also told me that ‘you are his senior sister, you should write a statement’.
“I protested and queried their action, they admitted that they made a mistake, they should have allowed him to call his family. I demanded to see my brother so the lady took me to one big officer and introduced us.
“The oga apologised and looked for the IPO to take us to the mortuary. When the IPO came, he took us to show us the body on the evening of Thursday.”
The unabated vicious killings by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and their colleagues from other units, recently, have necessitated renewed calls for the reform of the unit and indeed the entire Police system
Speaking on the issue was the President of Talakawa’s Parliament, Marxi Kola Edokpayi.
Edokpayi is currently helping the family to seek justice for the unfortunate Hamilton. The group protested to the office of the Commissioner of Police on Wednesday afternoon where they were assured of a thorough investigation.
The Talakawa’s Parliament believes that Hamilton was tortured to death judging from the story the SARS officials narrated.
According to Edokpayi, “I saw the OC SARS and he told me that a fellow prisoner tied Hamilton’s hands and legs in the cell.”
I asked the OC sars if the boy didn’t shout, how did the prisoners get the rope, the police only allow prisoners to wear bossers and who gave them the rope and how come the police didn’t see this happening?
“The officer told me that those people involved are already charged to court for the murder of Hamilton.”
But the Edo State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) DSP Chidi Nwabuzor alleged that Hamilton was a member of a syndicate who was terrorising the neighbourhood.
“The case is known to the command and the story behind it is what is not correct. It is not that the man was arrested when he was charging his phone, no, the man and his cohort, a gang of armed robbers went into Ugbowo area and rob some people of their electronics and in that process, the victims made a distress call and SARS went in there and got them arrested.
“In the cell, members of the cohort used his singlet to tie his nostril and that was how the incident happened. At the time the policemen checked the cell, other prisoners in the cell raised alarm.
These suspects were immediately transferred from SARS to the homicide unit and the culprits were charged. As we speak, the culprits are still in prison custody.
When told that the boy was allegedly tied with a rope instead of the singlet he said, the PPRO said “The people who told you that was not in the cell or the police station. Whatever they said amounts to insinuation.”