Ndukwe Ekekwe was a burgeoning businessman. The 35-year-old dealt in cellphone equipment in a store on the widespread Alaba International Market, Ojo, Lagos. He was a wholesaler with a big consumer base – folks got here all the best way from the North to purchase from him. He was doing effectively, hustling diligently to cater for his household, particularly his aged dad and mom.
But all of this might change, immediately, starting from a fateful Friday.
It was particularly Friday, February 16, 2018. While leaving house for his store – which had simply simply taken supply of brand name new inventory – 4 officers, led by a sure Hamza Haruna, accosted Ndukwe. They had him taken to a police van, which drove off. The arrest was swift and with out a proof.
At a degree, the officers stopped the van at Igando to have a dialogue amongst themselves. Ndukwe determined to make use of the chance to take out his cellphone and make calls. ¨When I introduced out my cellphone, one among them (officers) noticed me,¨ he remembers. ¨He (the officer) collected the cellphone and began beating me up, tearing my garments within the course of.¨
The officers took him to the SARS workplace in Ikeja, the place they tortured him all night time, then all day Saturday, proper until the night.
Ndukwe says he was taken again to his store that Saturday, the place he noticed some unidentified males loading his new inventory right into a ready van.
As he later came upon, it was not a loading, however a looting.
“The leader of the men told his people to keep me busy so they could loot my shop,¨ he says.
“They then took me to the following ground, positioned above my store. There, I felt a sudden push, and that’s the last item I can keep in mind.¨
Ndukwe was within the air. Then on the bottom. In a break up second. A violent crash. A lack of consciousness. He had been pushed off the primary ground and fallen to the bottom.
“I was in the village on Sunday afternoon when I got a call that my son had been arrested,¨ Mrs Ekekwe, Ndukwe´s mother, recalls.
“I took an evening bus to Lagos from Abia state. It took me three days to seek out him on the Police College Clinic in Ikeja. He had been dumped there, cuffed to the mattress with no therapy, and solely being fed chilly yoghurt.¨
Mrs. Ekwekwe organized for an ambulance to take her son from the Police College Clinic to a personal hospital in Ilupeju for exams.
The check outcomes got here out, revealing the intense extent of harm accomplished to Ndukwe. He lastly bought admitted to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba.
“I have been the one taking care of him ever since that time,¨ Mrs. Ekwekwe laments. ¨His life has been turned around. His business has folded. We have spent all we have to get him treated.¨
Seeking justice, Ndukwe and his mother appeared before the Doris Okuwobi-led Judicial Panel of Inquiry in October 2020.
“The police have tried many techniques to get the case thrown out, together with alleging that my son jumped by himself whereas attempting to flee arrest,¨ Mrs Ekwekwe says. ¨They even introduced a video to point out he jumped, however they ended up incriminating themselves.”
After several adjournments and delays by the Nigerian Police, the Investigating Police Officer who had led the arrest of Ndukwe finally appeared before the Judicial Panel.
The panel had earlier registered its displeasure with the Police for the delay in providing the IPO, whom Ndukwe identified as Hamza Haruna.
During his appearance, Haruna alleged that his team had been tipped off about Ndukwe having ammunition and stolen goods in his store. But he could not back this allegation with evidence, nor could he justify why Ndukwe was arrested, tortured and robbed of his goods.
Haruna’s appearance and statement was a miracle: for the first time since the ill-fated incident three years ago, Ndukwe and his family got to at least know why the police had come after him.
While appealing for justice, Mrs Ekekwe lamented on how the ordeal had crippled her son’s legs and life as a whole, and how her family had exhausted all their financial resources on getting him treated. She pleaded with the authorities to help get her son back on his feet.
“He is my solely son, our breadwinner,¨ she stated, ¨I simply need him to stroll once more, so he can get his life again. It hurts to see a really hardworking younger man lie down helpless on a regular basis.”