The Independent Investigative Panel probing rights abuses by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad and other police tactical units, in Abuja, on Wednesday, summoned a former Governor of Zamfara State, Ahmad Sani Yerima.
The retired Justice Suleiman Galadima-led panel ordered the ex-governor to appear before it on January 12 with regard to a complaint that allegedly instigated some policemen to arrest, torture, and detain a businessman, Alhaji Musa Wapa over a business deal.
Yerima, whose name was not originally listed as a respondent to the petition, was summoned after the panel ordered that he be joined as a respondent on Wednesday.
The panel had observed that while Yerima’s name was numerously mentioned in the body of the petition, he was not listed as a party.
Following an application by the complainant, the panel subsequently ordered that Yerima, who was the Governor of Zamfara State from 1999 to 2007, be joined as a respondent.
In his testimony on Wednesday, Wapa alleged that Yerima, who later served as Zamfara West Senator between 2007 and 2019, instigated the Inspector General of Police- Intelligence Response Team to torture, and detain him for six days.
Recalling the beginning of the crisis between them, Wapa noted that there had been a longstanding business partnership between him and the ex-governor, to the point that they were mutually indebted to each other.
As of the time the crisis started on June 30, 2019, according to the complainant, while he was being owed the sum of N25m by Yerima, he was owed the former governor the sum of N23m.
He said the N25m he was being owed by Yerima arose from the supply of three trailers of maize to his farm, Rufai Poultry (Nig.) Ltd.
He, however, explained that while his obligation to pay Yerima the N23m debt, was yet due, the ex-governor on June 30, 2020, allegedly paid money to the Police team comprising of Abdullahi and Zakariyya of Area Command Kano State and IGP-IRT Panteka, Kaduna State to torture and detain him for six days.
He recalled that a police vehicle had suddenly stopped by him where he was repairing his tractor at about 6pm on that fateful day.
He said the policemen in the vehicle started beating him in front of other people and later seized some of his vehicles.
He also narrated how the policemen handcuffed him and beat him continuously.
He said that his First Bank account had been frozen by the police as a result of the issue he had with Yerima.
He pleaded with the panel to award him N100m compensation for the alleged violations and tarnishing of his image by the police whom he said made him appear as a terrorist.
Under cross-examination, counsel for the Nigerian Police, Mr. James Idachaba, told the panel that Wapa’s arrest was a sequel to a court order, which the complainant denied knowledge of.
The panel fixed January 12 for Yerima to appear to tell his own side of the story.