Monday, 22 December 2014

Family accuses police of beating son to death

The family of Mr. Femi Bello has accused the police in Nasarawa State of allegedly torturing their son to death while he was in detention.

According to PUNCH Metro, the 31-year-old Femi was a 300-level student of Economics of the Kaduna State University, Tafawa Balewa Way, Kaduna State.

Our correspondent gathered that Femi had initially been arrested by the police attached to the Mararaba division on Thursday, December 4, when he went to visit a friend after which he was taken to the police station.

It was learnt that when his mother and siblings went to the station on the following day to check on him, they were told that their son had died.

Speaking on behalf of the Bellos, the family lawyer, Nanpong Wuyep, said the police accused Femi of being in possession of a gun kept somewhere in Bwari- the family’s residence.

Wuyep added that the police claimed they were taking him to Mararaba in a police van in handcuffs, and he got injured while jumping from the moving van thus leading to his death.

He said, “About eight policemen had stepped out of the van to arrest Femi and some other friends on that day. They were all handcuffed and taken to the Mararaba Police Station."

“When his younger brother, Biodun, later went to the station, the officers confirmed Femi’s arrest, but advised the brother to come back the following morning. However, when he checked back on the second day, they told him that Femi was no longer in the cell."

“When the brother eventually saw the Divisional Police Officer, he was told that Femi had died. The family has written to the Commissioner of Police, Nasarawa State, requesting a full report of the circumstances leading to the arrest and eventual death of Femi.”

Wuyep added that the family believed that Femi died at the station while he was being tortured by the police to extract a confession.

“The family strongly believes that Femi was arrested on trumped up charges and was tortured to death while trying to extract a confession. Our fears are based on the contradictions in the stories of his death told by the police authorities suggestive of a grand design to cover up the killing of Femi by the police.”

Speaking with PUNCH Metro, a family member, who craved anonymity for security reasons, said Femi’s corpse was released to the family on   December 13, after the state government intervened in the matter.

Our correspondent learnt that the family was planning to take Femi’s corpse for an autopsy to substantiate their claim.

The Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Abayomi Shogunle, said the Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, had ordered an investigation into the alleged murder.

In a tweet, he said, “Concerning Femi Bello, the Inspector General of Police has ordered the Force Criminal Investigation Department in Abuja to conduct a discreet investigation and report its findings.”