Widow takes police to court over torture of husband to death

A widow has taken the Nigeria Police Force to the Federal High Court demanding the sum of N500 million as general damages for violating the fundamental human right of her late husband.

The widow, Altine Danladi, in suit number FHC/BAU/CS/27/2028, wants justice for her late husband, Dauda Danladi, who was arrested and allegedly tortured to death by the police.

Also, in a motion number FHC/BAU/M/60/2021 and sworn to by her legal team led by Barrister Shipi Rabo, the widow seeks the order for the enforcement of her husband’s fundamental right to life as guaranteed by Section 33 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the African charter on human and people rights and fundamental rights (enforcement procedure) rules 2009, CAP 10, laws of Nigeria 1990.

Nigeria Police Force is the first respondent. Also joined in the suit are the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Baba (second respondent), the Commissioner of Police, Bauchi State, Sylvester Alabi (third respondent) and the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Yelwa Division, Philip Akolo (fourth respondent).

Daily Trust recalled that late Danladi was arrested on July 8, 2021 by a police patrol team beside his shop at Yelwa Tsakani, a suburb of Bauchi metropolis, around 9pm alongside some young men playing snooker and taken to Yelwa division where he was allegedly tortured to death.

Bauchi State Police Command through its Public Relations Officer, SP Ahmed Wakil, in a statement claimed that the police received a distress call about a person who had slumped and was gasping for breath.

He said police rushed to the scene and met the victim who was later identified as Dauda lying unconscious and suspected to have an asthmatic attack and was quickly evacuated by the patrol team to the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH) for medical attention where he was unfortunately certified dead by a medical doctor.

The widow in her motion on notice declared that the arrest and torture of her husband, Dauda Danladi, on the night of July 8, 2021, by officers of the respondents from Yelwa division, without just cause, is a violation of his fundamental human right to dignity as enshrined in section 34 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended and the African charter on human and people’s rights.

The widow said those arrested with her late husband told her that her husband resisted arrest, and the police tortured him.

“Markus Hezekiah, one of those who were arrested with my husband, told me that the police used the sticks they were holding to beat my husband.

“My late husband tried to resist the arrest and was telling them that he was conducting a legitimate business and that he did not do anything wrong. But they refused to allow him to even close his shop and they pushed him towards the Hilux van.

“When they were about to push him into the Hilux van, he slumped and they forcefully dragged him into the vehicle. My late husband was dumped on the floor of the vehicle and he was motionless. The people there alerted the officers that my late husband was unconscious and was not moving but the officers replied that he was pretending so that he would not be arrested,” she said.

Altine explained that because the officers who came to make the arrests were many, there was no space in the Hilux van and they kept stepping on her husband as he lay there unconscious.

“When they finally arrived at the Yelwa division, my late husband was still unconscious. They brought him down and laid him on the veranda of the station. After that, they brought water and poured it on him but he did not respond. At that point, they laid him down behind the counter and when he was still not responding, they quickly moved him out and that was the last time he (Hezekiah), and others saw him.”

She stressed that it took more than one hour from the time of the arrest before they arrived at the division and all the time,  her late husband was lying on the floor of the Hilux unconscious and nobody attended to him