The Counsel to the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), Mr Nosa Uhumwangbo, has said the police force faces financial constraints in paying compensation awarded by court to complaint.
Uhumwangbo made this disclosure before the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police brutality, SARS and Restitution on Tuesday.
He explained further that most judgements that are related to compensation are only orders that were not enforced because it was the responsibility of the lawyers of the complaints to file application in court for the enforcement of the judgements.
Uhumwangbo said contrary to the testimony of Mrs Nduibuisi Obiechina that she was tortured and manhandled by the IRT when arrested, the IRT did not use torture to extract information from her.
He said Obiechina was arrested because of her involvement with kidnap kingpin, Chukwudi Dumee Onuamadike popularly known as Evans, adding that she is Evans’ sister.
The IRT counsel disclosed that one of the numbers used by Evans to demand ransom from his victims was linked to Obiechina’s number.
He said Obiechina was therefore arrested by the police to serve as a lead to the arrest of Evans.
Uhumwangbo said three phone numbers, 08091000097, 08112452895 and 08188489518 were used by Evans to call his kidnapped victims.
He stated that when he was arrested and the police tracked the numbers, it was discovered that Obiechina’s phone number was linked to them.
The IRT counsel said Obiechina was arrested based on this, saying that, “in 2016, Evans who is a brother to Obiechina kidnapped a businessman, Umeh Francis and collected a ransom of $1 million from him. Among the three numbers that were used to call the family of the victims as discovered by the police was that of Obiechina. Her phone number had been used to call the family of the victim for ransom”.
“This was why she was arrested. And her arrest eventually led to the arrest of her brother, Evans on the 10th of June, 2017. Mr and Mrs Obiechina were released afterwards. She was not detained for 22 days neither was she tortured.
“The case has since been decided by the court and the sum of N2 million was awarded against the police. What the petitioner needs to do to claim the amount awarded in her favour is to file an enforcement of the judgment. Once a judgment is given against the police, it is normally forwarded to Abuja because of our financial constraints”, said Uhumwangbo.
During cross-examination, Obiechina said, “I was arrested on Friday, 2nd of June 2017 but was made to write my statement on the 5th of June. Evans was my brother but I didn’t know he was into kidnapping. My husband was unable to meet up with the amount demanded by the police so they released him to go and raise the fund for our bail.
“I spent three days in the cell before my statement was taken. I was tortured and beaten for three days after which SP Phillip and Columbus came for my statement. I made the statement on June 5 but I was arrested on June 2. My husband had to go and borrow to be able to bail”, said Obiechina.