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Alleged Enforced Disappearance: NHRC Panel Insists Abba Kyari Must Appear Before It


The independent investigative panel on violations of human rights by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police units set up by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), on Tuesday, insisted that the former Commander of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IGP-IRT), DCP Abba Kyari, must appear before it.

The insistence on Kyari’s appearance was made known by a member of the panel, Dr Garba Tetengi SAN, who stood in for its chairman, Justice Suleiman Galadima (retd), at the hearing of a petition filed by Raphael Ushahemba Ashwe on behalf of his elder brother, Morris Fater Ashwe.

In the petition, marked 2020/IIP-SARS/ABJ/14, the younger Ashwe had alleged enforced disappearance of his brother and joined the IRT, Benue State and the IGP as respondents.

When the matter was called, counsel for the police, James Idachaba, requested for an adjournment on the ground that the main character in the case, one Inspector Vincent Makinde, was not present as he was bedridden.

A counsel for the panel, Olawale Afolabi, however, opposed this, saying that Morris Fater Ashwe has neither been seen yet nor brought before the panel as ordered at previous sittings.

Afolabi added that the panel many times ordered that DCP Kyari should personally appear before it to give explanations of the whereabouts of the second complainant.

Responding to this, Idachaba said the former IRT commander had been suspended and no longer held the office, adding that he (Idachaba) had no personal contact with him (Kyari) to contact him.

While adjourning the further hearing of the petition, Tetengi said, “The panel reiterates all orders previously made in this matter. Same should be brought to the attention of the Inspector General of Police.”

In their petition, the petitioners informed that Morris Fater Ashwe was arrested and shot on the leg by operatives of IRT in Makurdi, the Benue State capital on May 1, 2018 “over allegations of gunrunning and illegal possession of firearms”.

According to the petitioners, “he alongside other persons arrested for different offences were paraded in Makurdi on or about 08/05/2018. The Commander of the IRT, DCP Abba Kyari was on the ground for the parade too.

“A day or two after the media parade, he was not seen or heard from again as family members were told that he has been moved to the IRT Headquarters in Abuja.

“There too, family members made efforts but could not see or reach him till date, neither have they been told if he was charged to court and remanded in prison custody.”

The petitioners, therefore, sought a declaration that Morris’ arrest, unlawful and prolonged detention, inhuman and degrading treatment, denial of access to health care and family is in gross violation of his inalienable fundamental human rights as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights

They also sought, among other orders, an order of the panel instructing DCP Kyari and officers of the IRT and the Nigerian Police to immediately produce Mr Morris Ashwe before the panel.

They then sought a monetary compensation of N20 million payable to the older Ashwe to alleviate the torture, trauma, suffering and hardship occasioned him as well as his family by the conduct of men of the IRT of the Nigerian Police.

Nigerian Tribune

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