Police Counsel Says Shooting Of A Petitioner By SARS Was Legal

By Bukar Bolori

Counsel to the police Fidelis Ogwobe has stated before the Independent Investigation panel on Human Rights violation by the defunct SARS and other units of the Nigerian police that the police who shot a petitioner, Tairu Garba acted within the ambit of the law.

According to Ogwobe the shooting of the petitioner was justified in law, sighting the fact that the life of the officer in question was in danger.

Ogwobe while reading his written address before the panel said the complainant has not been able to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt and that the case has some elements of criminality, he stated.

He said from the petitioner’s written address regarding the evidence of the second respondent, Ali Abubakar their life was in danger before being shot since the petitioner attempted to snatch police riffle.

It may be recalled that the petitioner, Tairu Garba has petitioned the panel over alleged torture, cruel inhuman and degrading treatment that led to the loss of his leg. He told the panel that sometimes in 2019 he approached a police station in kogi state to make a report of charms and other fetish materials deposited in his community by a rival community.

Narrating further, he said one Inspector Atabo Okpanachi of Enjema police division kogi state and members of his team, who are five in numbers came with a police van one morning, and launched a massive attack on the entire community, shooting sporadically, beating and kicking everyone with all form of degrading treatment.

While trying to enquire from the police the reason for their actions, he was shot at close range by inspector Okpanachi which led to the amputations of one of his legs.

However, Inspector Okpanachi who is the accused in the matter has before the panel exonerated himself when he told the panel that he didn’t shoot the complainant but his colleague, Ali Abubakar pulled the trigger and shot the bullet that led to the amputation of Tairu Garba’s leg.

During cross examination, Inspector Opanachi told the panel that shootings were done for self-defense, he said men on rampage descended on the police vehicle and attacked the police men this according to him led to the shootings that affected the petitioner.

Corroborating the testimony of the petitioner one Gabriel Momoh told the panel that the community did report the matter to the police and the police refused to follow them to witness the charm they claim they saw in their community because it was late and no logistics for such a distress call.

The matter was adjourned for report.

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