The Anambra State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Police Brutality, Extra-Judicial Killings and other Related Matters, on Thursday, November 12, issued an invitation to a former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, for an appearance before it in order to give his testimony on the #EndSARS protests that rocked the country last month.
The Chairman of the panel, Justice Veronica Umeh, made the declaration on Thursday; while reacting to the testimony of a petitioner, Bonaventure Mokwe.
1st News had gathered that Peter Obi was accused of taking ‘rash actions’ and making incendiary comments following the protests.
According to Mokwe, he was arrested and tortured by men of the state Special Anti-Robbery Squad; while his hotel was demolished on Obi’s orders while he was the state governor.
This was over alleged involvement in kidnapping activities.
The petitioner filed a five-page application to the panel. In addition, he is demanding a public apology from the state government for being branded a kidnaper; noting that he was kept in SARS custody for 81 days without any charges against him.
An excerpt from his testimony reads, “I was arrested by SARS operatives on the orders of Peter Obi and kept in custody for three months without being charged to court.
“While in detention, I witnessed a lot of gruesome killings perpetrated by the police unit…I am ready to open up on their operations.
“Since we are talking about SARS and all their atrocities, I think this panel can give me the opportunity to say most of the things I saw, which happened at SARS, just to help us unravel the level of destruction they were into.
“I stayed there long enough to know the workings of SARS and also where they derived their powers to act the way they did, especially SARS under James Nwafor.”
In her response, Justice Umeh told Mokwe that the panel had terms of reference. She added that asking the state to apologise to victims was not part of them.
However, she asked the petitioner to file an additional petition covering other testimonies he intends to give about SARS operations; while assuring that anyone who is indicted in a petition would be invited.
“We cannot entertain testimonies that are outside what you filed in your petition. If you want to file an addendum, we will give you time.
“Be rest assured that all the people you are mentioning, including the former governor, would be duly invited by this panel,” Justice Umeh said.
Speaking with journalists after the sitting, Mokwe said he was set up by Peter Obi. Further, he alleged that the demolition of his hotel was a vendetta against him.
He narrated that his trouble started when someone who lodged in his hotel room was arrested by SARS operatives. He added that during a search, a human skull was discovered in the room.
“The whole thing was a setup. Somebody lodged in room 102 of my hotel and in the morning, SARS came and found human skulls in the room.
“I know it was a setup. The then governor, Peter Obi had converted Ose Motor Park to Onitsha Park, giving Onitsha people the right to collect levies there.
“My park, Mokwe Park is beside Ose Park. So when transporters who use Ose Park felt the fee they were paying to Onitsha people were much, they came to my park to do their business. Onitsha people were not happy with me. It was just two weeks after that the skulls were planted in my hotel.
“On the same day, without any form of investigation, my hotel which was built in 1973, was demolished. I have evidence that the bulldozer that was used to demolish my hotel was paid for, two days before the incident and demolition. So, how did they know skulls were going to be found in my hotel if they were not planted?
“James Nwafor, the former SARS boss, did not just come from Ebonyi State and start killing people; there were people who gave him the latitude under which he operated, and we are ready to reveal them.”