Police killed my brother, threatened to kill me too – Catholic Priest tells Panel
A priest with the Catholic Diocese of Ilorin, Reverend Father Henry Ayo Sanni, on Friday told the Independent Investigation Panel on Human Rights Violations by the defunct SARS and other Police units set up by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that despite allegedly gunning his younger brother, Mr Femi Sanni, down in Abuja in 2007, the police threatened to kill him too for asking them of his brother’s whereabouts.
Rev Father Sanni stated this while testifying before the panel during the hearing of a petition he wrote on the alleged killing of his brother, who he said the police wrongly claimed was an armed robber because “they just wanted to kill him”.
He said contrary to the police claim, his late brother was a businessman who owned two block industries in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja and another one in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
Led in evidence by his counsel, Kolade Akande, the clergy informed the panel that he received a phone call from Abuja informing him that his brother had been arrested by the police, adding that this prompted him to quickly come to Abuja to confirm the incident.
He explained to the panel that when he came to Abuja, he went to the FCT Police Command at Garki, where he met one DSP Uzoma Nwoha, who was the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the command, alleging that the police spokesman threatened to gun him down if he insisted on asking about his brother.
He further said that DSP Nwoha asked him to go and that the best he could do for his brother was to pray for him, because he was already in the morgue.
The clergyman said with the alleged threat coming from the PPRO, he decided to leave the command headquarters, adding that on his way out, an unnamed officer, who he said recognised him as a priest, told him that his brother might be one of the two persons arrested by the police and taken to a place he did not know.
Sanni said he was shocked when he finally got to the morgue in Abuja and found the corpse of his younger brother mutilated, with some signs which showed that the police shot him on the chest at close range.
According to the Reverend Father, the police shot his younger brother barely one year after he (deceased) got marriage, adding that as of the time of the incident, the wife was one-month-old pregnant and had since delivered.
He told the panel that he had always made his nephew believed that he (Father Sanni) was his father, saying that the boy he could not continue to tell him that as the boy was now about 13-year-old and had started asking more questions about his father’s whereabouts.
He further told the 11-man panel that as the boy was getting older, he knew that Revered Fathers do not get married and as such he could be his (nephew’s) father.
Rev Father Sanni, therefore, urged the panel to order a N250 million compensation in his family’s favour in view the alleged ordeal of his brother in the hands of the police and his extra-judicial killing thereafter, among several other violations.
While being cross examined, Sanni told the panel that letters were written to the Inspector General of Police and Kwara State government in respect of the alleged extra judicial killing of his late brother.
He added that his late brother was sometimes paraded by the police before the media, including Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) as an armed robber, which he said was an allegation that was not true.
Meanwhile, a member of the panel, Dr Garba Tetengi SAN, who presided over today’s sitting on behalf of the Chairman, Justice Suleiman Galadima (retd), has adjourned to March 9 for defence.