These stories are not just words. They chronicle the experiences of Nigerians and must be penned down, read, shared and never forgotten, so we do not make the same mistakes in the future. As you read these stories, be reminded that these are only symptoms of a system that has failed.
The failure of the Nigerian Government to protect its people and uphold justice is not because the system is totally bad but because many of the people who run the system have chosen to mismanage resources, stay greedy and ignore the very people who put them in power and pay their salaries and allowances.
The #ENDSARS protests of October 2020 should make Nigerians understand that we can effect change if we agree to fight for it together.
Read the stories, say their names and we will say together – NEVER AGAIN!
CHUKWUEMEKA MATTHEW ONOVO, 22 (July 2008)
Student Chukwuemeka Matthew Onovo, aged 22, left his father’s house in Enugu on the morning of 4 July 2008. When he failed to come home that afternoon, his father went to the police to report him missing. The next day, after neighbours told the father that there had been a shoot-out with the police near his house, he went looking for his son.
“I went there and found his glasses on the ground”, he told Amnesty International. Chukwuemeka Matthew Onovo had been shot and killed by the police.
The police claimed that Chukwuemeka Matthew Onovo was an armed robber, but an eyewitness said he was unarmed when he was killed. The autopsy, ordered by the court, confirmed that he had died of a gunshot wound, but the police did not make any further attempt to investigate his death. No one was held responsible. “I don’t know who shot my son, till today”, his father said. “It affected me so much. He was my first and only son.
MIRACLE ONWE, 23 (February 2017)
23-year-old Miracle was arrested in February 2017 and detained at SARS detention centres in Awkuzu and Neni
in Anambra State, on the allegation of laptop theft. He told Amnesty International that he was tortured and hardly given any food during his 40 days in detention by SARS, before he was charged and brought before a court.
“At SARS Awkuzu …their leader directed them to hang me. They took me to the back of theMiracle Onwe – Source: Amnesty International
hall and tied me up with ropes. They tied my hands behind me, tied my two legs together and
then tied the rope binding my hands with that around my legs behind me, causing my chest to
protrude. They had two, already prepared iron stands where they hang people. They passed an
iron rod through the ropes and then lifted me up by the rod and hung me from the iron stand.
Then they started to use all manner of items to beat me, including machetes, sticks, inflicting
me with all manner of injuries… When the first officer came to check and saw that I was almost
unconscious, he went to call their team leader, who then asked them to bring me down. They
dumped me inside the interrogation hall…
Miracle told Amnesty International that the next day, he was taken from Awkuzu to a SARS detention centre
in Neni, where he was detained for 40 days. He said he was denied food and water by SARS during the
course of his detention, and only managed to stay alive with the help of inmates who smuggled sachets of
water into his cell at midnight. He alleged that eight of his co-detainees died of starvation during the period
of his detention. Miracle was taken to court on 25 March 2017 and charged for armed robbery, but was
discharged for lack of evidence. A lawyer who took up the case of Miracle told Amnesty International that
he wrote the Inspector General of Police (IGP) in May 2017 asking for an investigation, but failed to get any
response from the IGP
Source: Amnesty International – NIGERIA: TIME TO END IMPUNITY – Torture and Other Violations by Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS)