A human rights activist, Mr. Agbodemu Ishola Musbau, who doubles as a local vigilante, has narrated how he was shot five times on his chest and leg during invasion of his community by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Ikeja, Lagos State Police Command.
Musbau said the SARS men would have killed him, if not for the charms he had earlier used to fortify himself. He claimed that the charms made his body impenetrable and bullet ineffective.
Musbau’s story is not too different from that of Mr. Adetiba Sunday, a 30-year-old scavenger.
Sunday said that Godwin Ogedengbe, an officer attached to SARS, Magbon, Abeokuta, shot his right leg during an arrest.
Sunday and Musbau narrated their ordeal before the Presidential Investigation Panel on the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force for South-West Geo-political zone set up by the then Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo.
Musbau said: “I’m a vigilante, a human rights activist and businessman. As part of our contributions to the society as leaders or security personnel, we liaise with government, particularly the law enforcement agencies, to reduce crime in order to facilitate the development and growth of our people.
“I’m also the chairman of the Community Development Association (CDA) which is registered under Lagos State Ministry of Rural Development.
“On March 3, 2017, the SARS men acted more like kidnappers or thugs. They were heavily armed but were not in uniform.
“They invaded my community without any proper means of identification and refused to even introduce themselves to anyone in the community. I was called by some youths that some armed men in a black wagon had invaded our community, Otto Ilogbo, Ebute-Meta.
“As a leader of the community and a vigilante, I approached them to find out who they were, and what their mission was. But these men jumped down from their wagon and began shooting sporadically. Although the community is a part of Lagos State, where petty crimes are often committed here and there, it was not an excuse for that type of violent invasion.
“Initially, they claimed that they were hunting drug peddlers, but when they couldn’t find any drug peddler, they began to arrest some of our community members who were just sitting in front of their compounds. I asked them why they were arresting innocent people; one of them replied that those people saw them coming and didn’t run. I tried to challenge them on such an excuse and also prevent them from dragging those boys into the van. They then shot my leg and chest.
“They shot me about five times, but it didn’t penetrate because I had fortified myself strongly. I had to fortify myself after experiencing a severe neck, and a gunshot injury on December 23, 2010 during the time of Bayo Suleiman, who led task force officers to invade one of the communities in Ebute-Meta. They finally succeeded in taking the boys away in handcuffs and pushed me away, seeing that the bullets didn’t penetrate.
“They handcuffed six of those that sat outside and dragged them into their van as if they were common criminals. Despite introducing myself and showing my identity cards, these SARS men ignored me. It was even when they were about driving out that they now wore a vest written ‘F-SARS’.
“They detained those youths for over four days without any petition or allegation against them. They just caged them to suffer because they were poor and didn’t have anyone to speak for them. It was on the fourth day that I went to F-SARS Ikeja, after being invited by the Officer in Charge (OC) of SARS, to sign for their release.
“They released two out of the six after collecting N150,000. One paid N50,000 and the other N100,000. When the OC SARS called me to come for the bail of the remaining four, I didn’t know it was a setup. I got to their station only to be thoroughly beaten up by 11 policemen. They claimed that I was forming hard man by standing up to them during the arrest. They said that they needed to teach me a lesson.
“During the beating, I was severely injured and was admitted in the hospital. I am currently still a patient at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). I came here with all the boys that were arrested so they could individually share their experiences.”
Narrating his own story, Sunday said that he was a panel beater and was at his place of work when Ogedengbe and some members of his team raided the place and arrested him on June 22, 2012.
The panel, which was saddled with the responsibility of hearing and investigating the complaints against SARS and make recommendations to government on how the squad could be reformed, began its hearing on the complaints on November 13.
At the Thursday hearing, Sunday said he was not taken to the hospital after being shot, neither was any of his family members informed of his whereabouts.
He said: “When I was arrested at Ogijo, Ogedengbe shot me on my leg out of annoyance and took me to Ogijo Police Station before I was transferred to Magbon in Abeokuta. When I was brought to Ogijo Police Station, I met four other suspects there. Ogedengbe asked them if they knew me. It was only one suspect that said he knew me and when he asked me if I knew them I said no. Immediately Ogedengbe slapped, pushed me to the ground and started stomping on my face.”
According to Sunday, after about five days in Magbon cell, he was brought out to write a statement. “But I refused because I didn’t know the offence I committed. Inspector Ogedengbe told me to stretch my second leg and threatened to shoot it if I didn’t write my statement; he later wrote the statement himself.”
Sunday added: “I was in detention for about a month before I was taken to court. I was charged with six other people for conspiracy and cultism. But I never knew who those other people were before we were all arraigned. Before I was taken to court, my family members had been looking for me. When they couldn’t find me, they concluded that I was dead. It was after a month in the cell that the officers took me to my house for a search that my family members knew I was still alive.
“We attended the court proceedings for about eight times until we were all discharged for lack of diligent prosecution.”
Sunday further told the panel that after he was discharged by the court, Ogedengbe continued to attack him with threats of sending him back to prison.
However, Ogedengbe, who was also called upon to defend himself before the panel, denied all the allegations while adding that Sunday was someone he had a good relationship with and could never have shot him.
Ogedengbe said: “My team was sent to Ogijo due to the land grabber clashes. We arrested one Rafiu, who made a statement about the members of his gang and the name of Sunday came up. It was at the police station that one officer said that Sunday was a notorious cultist, who had different types of weapons. We investigated and after investigation, we charged him to court for conspiracy and cultism. I have a good relationship with Sunday; he is a notorious criminal who might have got his injury from elsewhere.
“I cannot threaten someone that gives me information. Sunday became my informant after he was discharged by the court. I’ve even paid him N10,000 before for bringing me a job. I even invited him to my girlfriend’s birthday party where he came and served drinks to guests.”

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