A police officer, Inspector Atabo Okpanachi who is allegedly linked to the case of alleged torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment gave a detailed narration of how his colleague shot the petitioner, Tairu Garba on the leg on the 8th of July, 2020 in Ankpa, Kogi State.
Inspector Okpanachi informed the panel that the police team was unexpectedly attacked by an angry mob while they responded to a distress call from the incumbent Ankpa local government Chairman, Hon. Ibrahim Abaru who at the time of the incident was the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Kogi state on Security Matters, informing them that his Community was taken over by hoodlums.
Atabo while on cross-examination by counsel to the petitioner, S,T. Momoh told the 11-Member panel chaired by Dr. Garba Tetengi (SAN) on behalf of Justice Suleiman Galadima (rtd), that his team attached to Defunct SARS, Ankpa Area Command received a distress call from the Local Government Chairman, directing them to proceed to Afo Gam-gam where there was an on-going communal crisis over a Chieftaincy tussle.
Testifying further, Atabo said while on their way to the scene of the crisis, they received another call to rescue one Hudu Musa who had earlier escaped lynching by members of the Afo Gam-gam Community.
He noted that his team located Hudu in the bush and drove along with him to the Community where the crisis was taking place and that on sighting Hudu and the police team led by ASP Lawrence, the mob numbering over seventy, became more violent, with about six of them attempting to retrieve a gun belonging to the police driver, which incident happened inside the police van.
Continuing, he disclosed that it was in the process of struggling to collect back the gun that another police officer, Inspector Ali Abubakar who was in the car shot the petitioner on the leg.
The petitioner had earlier testified before the panel in Igala through an interpreter, that on the 8th of July 2020, Inspector Atabo Okpanachi shot him with an AK47, which resulted in his bones breaking and flesh shattering. The left leg was eventually amputated.
Tairu Garba, the petitioner stated that the matter which led to the shooting of his leg was an escalated civil unrest which was reported to the Police Command headquarters Zone B, Kogi state.
He informed the panel that he was dissatisfied with the manner the police was handling the case which necessitated his decision to table the same before the honourable panel.
A second witness in the matter, Prince Momoh corroborated the testimony made by the petitioner.
He said, “I saw Atabo shoot my nephew in the leg”.
Against the foregoing, the petitioner prayed the panel to order the police to assist in providing him with an artificial leg and the payment of adequate compensation for the inhuman, cruel and degrading treatment allegedly meted out to him by the police.
Asked by the Chairman’s representative if he would be able to produce Inspector Ali Abubakar before the panel, Atabo answered in the affirmative.
In its ruling, the panel ordered the police to produce Inspector Abubakar on the 25th of November, 2021 for defense.