Morakinyo Ogele, a human rights lawyer based in Akure, capital of Ondo State, has instituted legal action against the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) over the case of a suspect, Razak Ahmed, who died in the custody of the Ondo State Command of the Corps.
Barrister Ogele approached the State High Court in Akure asking for the NSCDC to be mandated to conduct investigation in its Ondo State Command to identify the officers involved in the arrest, detention and alleged of torturing of Mr. Ahmed to death.
In March 2019, 46-year-old Ahmed was arrested by officers of the Ondo State Command of the NSCDC after complaint from his son that he was allegedly having carnal knowledge of his eight-year-old daughter.
However, three days after his arrest over the allegation, the mechanical engineer died in the custody of the NSCDC at its Alagbaka office in Akure.
Ahmed’s death generated crisis, as his family members accused the command of torturing their bread winner to death while trying to force him to confess to the crime. However, Samuel Oladapo, the NSCDC spokesperson in Ondo, bluntly denied the family’s allegation, instead saying the suspect committed suicide by “hanging himself to death” in their custody.
Dissatisfied with the NSCDC’s handling of the case, the lawyer is seeking an order directing the corps to hand over the officers culpable in the death of Ahmed to the Police for investigation and prosecution.
Ogele is further asking the State High Court to order NSCDC in Ondo to pay the sum of N500 million as damages to the family of Ahmed over the loss of their bread winner.
In a 33-paragraph-affidavit, Ogele said he initiated the suit on behalf of the family of the deceased and in the public interest.
“Family members of the deceased have been calling on human rights organisations to help them get justice,” he said.
“This is because NSCDC is trying to cover up this extrajudicial killing. They felt unconcerned about the gruesome act against the family of the deceased. Their spokesman declared that the man committed suicide in their custody without giving evidence.
“I think NSCDC is a security agency established to protect lives and properties in Nigeria. Its officers are not expected to take any life.”
The activist lawyer also wants the court to direct all security agencies to subject their officers to psychiatric tests and stop them from forcefully torturing their suspects in order to obtain confessional statements.