#EndSARS: How the police killed my brother 14 years ago

A Catholic priest has relived the endless pain his family has been dealing with over the last 14 years over the alleged murder of his brother by police. Henry Sanni, a Reverend Father, appeared before the #EndSARS panel in Abuja on Friday seeking justice. Mr. Sanni recounted the emotional anguish family members have been dealing with over the tragic death of his brother over the last 14 years. His brother, Femi Sanni, according to the priest, died in police custody sometime in September 2007, leaving behind his wife of almost two months who was one month pregnant. A few months after Femi’s death, his wife, Kehinde Sanni, gave birth to a son. The priest said the boy, Remilekun, grew up believing he was her biological father. The deceased, Femi Sanni, was allegedly killed by police in 2007. However, the boy, whose Yoruba name, Remilekun, loosely means ‘Stop my pain’, is now a student of JSS 3. He has come to know that Catholic priests have no children and has been asking questions about his real father, Sanni told the 11-member panel on Friday. “We have been lying to the 14-year-old from the pregnancy that I am his father. But the child has come to know better than to believe that priests have children,” he said. He added that Remikun’s questions became so persistent that the family needed to explain to him “how terrible the police did to his father.” The trauma of the past 14 years, Sanni said, has been too much for her brother’s widow to handle. The woman, despite being a co-petitioner in the case, was unable to appear at Friday’s proceedings, Sanni told the panel. the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) established an 11-member Independent Investigation Panel following the October 2020 #EndSARS protest against police brutality, to investigate cases of rights violations perpetrated by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police units . The deceased and his wife, Kehinde Sanni ‘How they arrested, killed my brother’ Testifying before the #EndSARS panel, Mr. Sanni insisted that the police arrested his brother on a false charge of armed robbery and ultimately killed him. Mr. Sanni told the panel that his brother had called him on September 11, 2007 to tell him about his plan to attend a party in Abuja with his friends. Rev. Father. Henry Sanni, brother of the deceased The priest said he received a call on September 12, 2007 from Ilorin, Kwara state, that his brother had been arrested and put on television. He said the parade, he was told, was organized by the then Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command in Abuja, Uzoma Nwoha, Deputy Superintendent of Police, and other officials. of SARS. The witness told the #EndSARS panel that he immediately traveled to Abuja to confirm the authenticity of the information about his brother’s arrest. ALSO READ: #EndSARS: Families call for release of relatives from two-year detention “I quickly came to Abuja and met with the PPRO, Mr. Nwoha, who told me that my brother is in his custody and that he has been arrested for armed robbery,” Mr. Sanni narrated. He said he asked if he could speak to his brother, but the official refused to state that he had no right to do so. The priest said he also approached another officer at the headquarters who recognized him as a priest and gave him a hint that his brother was, in fact, arrested, but had been taken to the SARS headquarters. He said he immediately went to SARS headquarters but, again, was not given any useful information. But he said, he found a Christian who recognized him as a priest and told him that his brother was taken there but had been transferred to another place he did not know. “I quickly returned to the FCT headquarters to meet with the PPRO, but he threatened to shoot me and claimed that I was obstructing justice,” the petitioner said. Premium Times was unable to independently verify this claim at the time of reporting. advertisements However, he recalled that Mr. Nwoha allegedly told him that his brother was an armed robber and that he should face the wrath of the law. Sanni said she had to return to the SARS office to meet the previous informant, who she said asked her to visit the morgues to see if her brother was there. “I did as he advised; and behold, I found my brother mutilated. It was a bloody sight and I passed out from the shock,” the priest said. In his emotional testimony, Mr. Sanni recalled seeing gunshot wounds to the corpse’s chest region, which he assumed were the result of being shot at close range. Police hand over body for burial When asked after Friday’s proceedings, Mr. Sanni told PREMIUM TIMES that after confirming his brother’s death, the family requested that his body be released. He shared with our reporter a copy of the ‘burial order’ issued by the police that handed over the body to the family. Copy of the order issued by the police to deliver the body of Femi Sanni for burial. Following the issuance of the order on September 27, 2007, Sanni said, the body was buried on October 2, 2007. ‘My brother is not an armed robbery’ Before concluding his testimony before the panel, Mr. Sanni denied the charge of armed robbery made against his brother. He said his brother, a businessman with three block industries in Abuja and Kwara state, could not have been involved in such an act. The accusation, he said, was akin to giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it. “My brother was not an armed robber, if you want to kill a dog, don’t name it. Remove his name from the list of armed robbers in Abuja. He was a businessman with three blockade industries in Abuja and Kwara state,” Sanni said. In his paymasters, he appealed to the panel to force the police to unconditionally remove the name of the deceased from the list of (arrested) armed robbers in Abuja. He also urged the panel to order compensation of N250 million to be paid to the family. Police reaction to priest’s testimony Meanwhile, the police legal team questioned Mr. Sanni after he concluded his testimony during Friday’s hearing. Malik Taiwo, the lawyer for the police legal team in the trial, asked the witness if he ever reported the alleged extrajudicial execution to other authorities. In response, Mr. Sanni confirmed that the Sanni family wrote to the Kwara State Government and the Inspector General of Police about the matter. He made reference to the two letters attached to his petition. Malik then pleaded with the panel to give him time to track down the police officers named in the case, as the alleged murder occurred some 14 years ago. panel failure The panel, chaired in an interim capacity by Garba Tetengi, a leading Nigerian lawyer, adjourned the case until March 9 for the police to present their defence. Suleiman Galadima, retired judge of the Supreme Courtwho is the substantive chair, was absent from Friday’s session. Background SARS, accused by the priest of his brother’s murder, is a defunct police unit known for the inhumane activities of its men. The unit was banned in the wake of the October 2020 #EndSARS anti-police brutality protest. The #EndSARS protest also spawned the various investigative panels established in Abuja and 28 other states to investigate cases of police brutality in order to compensate victims or their families and hold police officers who made mistakes accountable. Read More Related News Here Let here it in the comment below if you do have an opinion on this; #EndSARS: How the police killed my brother 14 years ago