A retired army officer, Mohammed Labaran today, March 1st 2021, narrated before the Independent Investigative Panel on SARS and other Units of the Nigerian Force how the police accused him of the murder of Kudirat Abiola and also an attempt by him to kill Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (The deposed Emir of Kano).
In the matter which bothered on alleged unlawful arrest and detention; Torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, denial of right to property and abuse of office, Labaran told the panel that towards his retirement from the Nigerian Army, he travelled from Rivers State to Awe Local Government in Nasarawa State in order to access traditional treatment of a gunshot wound he sustained years ago in the course of duty, which had developed some complications.
Narrating further, the petitioner told the panel that the hotel room he paid for on arrival in Awe was however given out to the Commissioner of Police Nasarawa State at that time without his consent, a development he said he took in good faith and had to pass the night at the hotel’s reception area, in the absence of available room.
According to Labaran (petitioner), while leaving the hotel the next day about 7 am, he was accosted by three MOPOL officers who were guarding the hotel. “All attempts to identify myself to them fell on deaf ears as they insisted on arresting me” he told the panel.
Labaran told the panel that while the feud between him and the three police officers was still going on, the Divisional Police Officer DPO arrived the scene and took him away for further investigation. According to the petitioner, the DPO upon investigation, exonerated him of “attempt to commit any offence” as accused.
He however stated that the Assistant Commissioner of Police (Operations) ordered that he be arrested on the grounds that his matter was already before the Inspector General of Police and only the IG could order for his release.
At the state CID where he was taken, Labaran informed the panel that “the charge against me was suddenly changed from attempt to commit an offence to Murder of Kudirat Abiola and Attempt to Murder Sanusi Lamido Sanusi”.
In his words, the petitioner told the panel “the next day, I was paraded before the press, and forced to take a photograph wearing my camouflage uniform, and two guns that did not belong to me, but I resisted”.
According to the petitioner, even after being identified by 177 Battalion Nigeria Army as its personnel, he was still detained for about five weeks alongside condemned criminals who he was forced by the police to buy food for, twice a day , otherwise, he would sleep in the cell’s toilet.
Labaran told the panel that the police seized his FCMB ATM card and withdrew N1.4m on the grounds of feeding his fellow inmates, a duty they (police) said he must carry out. He also said he spent about N2m to settle top Police personnel as he was told to do by the police, in order to secure his freedom. He said barely 48 hours of parting with the said amount; he was released and asked to go home.
The complainant is seeking among other reliefs;
Refund of N1.4m withdrawn from his bank account by the police.
Refund of N2m paid in regaining his freedom.
To return his pair of full combat desert camouflage uniform.
The matter was adjourned to April 7th 2021 for continuation of hearing.